It’s a Wrap! Adopt the Garden Concludes with 2nd Grade Classes!

By:  Marivic Marko, Adopt the Garden Coordinator

2nd graders had quite a few visits to the garden this month!

Each 2nd grade class attended the Pollinator Workshop created and presented by Jo Louie, the SCS Garden Project Chair. There they learned about the importance of pollinators such as honey and native bees, how they impact our lives and how to help them. This coincided with another pollinator they were growing in their classroom – Painted Lady Butterflies. In the classroom, they raised the Painted Lady butterflies from caterpillars to pupae and released them in the garden when they became butterflies. The garden was full of Painted Lady butterflies!

One of the 2nd graders final visits to the Garden this month included the Adopt the Garden program where the students worked to help maintain the Garden. Before they got to work, the students had a chance to see Monarch caterpillars on our local milkweed, blooming orange poppies, and the garden bursting with color! This was the final visit of students lending a helping hand before the summer break, and the second graders did a fantastic job working hard to leave the Garden well maintained. We are grateful for their hard work!


Mrs. Barley and her class
Mrs. Anthony/Mrs. Carr and their class
Mrs. Guevara and her class
Mrs. Gomez and her class
Mrs. Huber and Parent/Grandparent Volunteers Anna Ford and Sharon Sickler

Special Thanks:
Mr. Hoyle and his class, and Parent Volunteer, Jamie Voegler



Thank You, Mr. Hoyle!

By: Marivic Marko, Adopt the Garden Coordinator

As Mr. Hoyle prepares to leave Sycamore at the end of this school year, his 5th grade class decided to honor his commitment to the garden with a touching ceremony. On Monday, June 4, 2018, the class presented Mr. Hoyle with a Carpinteria californica “Bush Anemone”, a flowering evergreen shrub native to the Sierra Nevada foothills in California, that was planted in his honor in the Garden.

For the last 3 years, each of Mr. Hoyle’s 5th grade classes have consistently performed community service in the garden throughout the school year. His classes have come as often as twice a month to help maintain the Garden.

The work did not simply fall on the students – Mr. Hoyle has picked up a rake to clear pathways and neaten them, used shears to cut unwieldy branches and plants, and installed garden signs. He has taken great pride in the Garden and his dedication shows. Mr. Hoyle has encouraged his students to perform community service, work hard and reflect Sycamore’s values of Responsibility, Respect and Citizenship. His enthusiasm and commitment has helped the Garden complete several projects such as spreading bags of mulch, designing and constructing Edible Lab cages, planting beans, and doing the hard work needed to maintain a beautiful space of nature.

Thank you Mr. Hoyle for the all the time you have given the Garden, and for sharing your love of nature with this generation of students!

History Comes Alive!! 3rd Grade Living Museum in the Garden!

Friday June 1, 2018, Mrs. Hise’s 3rd grade class presented their Living Museum Biography Report in the Garden.  What a pleasant surprise it is to find George Washington under our Sycamore tree!

IMG_1129“The Living Museum was a great experience. It was fun dressing up like George Washington and I learned a lot about him. He seemed to be very popular because every time my button was pushed, a large crowd formed around me to hear about my report!”
~ Christopher Berg


A Journey to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico!

By: Lisa Bonomo, Cultural Advisor for Culture at the Garden – Puerto Rico

The Culture at the Garden – Puerto Rico, took children on a journey to learn about a Commonwealth of the United States.  What, a Commonwealth?    Puerto Rico is not a country? It’s not a State?  No, Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States of America, and its residents are citizens of the United States.

The children were taken on a journey of the island and its most valued aspects using crafts, games and dancing of course!  They started with El Coqui’, a small tree frog, that is indigenous to the island, they make the music of the island, Koh-kee, singing from dusk ‘til dawn. They learned of the Bioluminescent bay of Vieques and the NASA radio telescope in Arecibo to El Morro fort, that was used to defend the island in the early days of Spanish occupancy and the children went through a life sized El Morro in order to get onto the island and learn about the culture, music and games Puerto Rico is famous for.

Once through El Morro, they learned about Danza, Reggaeton, Bolero, Merengue and Salsa; using maracas they showed off their dance skills on the stage.  They learned how to play dominoes, a game that is near and dear to the heart of Puerto Ricans; they learned of the Taino Indian culture that makes Puerto Rico unique, and received a Taino Coqui glitter tattoo.  They heard about the culture and saw traditional dress of Puerto Rican men and women.  They answered trivia questions to win a prize; and enjoyed refreshing Piragua’s, a shaved ice drink, and plantain chips, 2 delicious treats that every child experiences on the island.

Who knew Puerto Rico had so much more to offer than beautiful beaches! Did you?

Special Thank you to :

  • Event Sponsor:  Amgen Latin Employees Network (ALEN)
  • Planning committee: Lisa Bonomo, Tina Mortillaro, Tanya Nunez, Subha Tholudur
  • SCS Volunteers: Archana Timmaraju, Samatha Gummadi, Marivic Marko, Jen Lunney, Sonceriae Armstrong, Namrata Dutta, Puja Kaushik, Alex Lagrave, María Paz Varas, Johanna Duc, Lisa Bonomo, Jen Lunney, Jamie Hammer-Voegler, Subha Tholudur, Tina Mortillaro, Alicia Andrae, Imelda Fuentes, Darshana Bhamre, Andrea Feagan, Marie Turner, Anette Power.
  • ALEN Volunteers: Tanya Nunez, Ivy Colon-Perez, Nahira Miscalichi, Edgar Romo.


Photos by: Stacy Gleason and Marivic Marko


Daisies Wrapping up Community Gardening Day for the school year

By: John Malouf, SCS Garden Project Scout Coordinator

It was a perfect day for spring cleaning as Daisy Troop 62181 arrived at the SCS Garden for the May 4th Garden Volunteer Day – our last Community Gardening Day for this school year!  All hands were pulling weeds, raking leaves, and working hard.  They may be small in size but they are mighty in their effort.  Thank you girls for helping to make the SCS Garden a better place!

A special thanks to the scout leaders Cindy Panza, Maria Prescott and Judy Caples, as well as the middle school students for lending the Garden a hand.



Adopt the Garden, First Grade

By: Marivic Marko, Adopt the Garden Coordinator

First graders had a busy month in the garden!  During the month of April, they worked in the Edible Lab to prepare garden beds for their Peter Rabbit vegetable planting, and they came out once again to plant their seeds.

During their third visit, the students participated in the Adopt the Garden program, and spent time learning to care for the garden. With Spring in full bloom, we first took a good look all around us and got to know the garden better.  We walked through the garden and saw the tree that our school is named after, the Sycamore.  Then, we identified the tree named after our city, the Oak!  Finally, we were lucky to see our state flower blooming in the garden, the California Poppy.

At this point, we were ready to get to work!  Our wonderful parent volunteers explained the garden tasks that needed to be done that day, in addition to demonstrating how to properly use the tools needed for the job.  The students broke into groups, and in no time at all, the garden was looking groomed and tidy.

It was a joy having this young and enthusiastic group of students work in the garden this month!  Each and every one of them contributed their service to the garden, and we are so thankful for their hard work.  Thank you to the wonderful first grade teachers and Parent Volunteers who came out to the garden to help!


Ms. Taj, and Parent Volunteer, Lakshmi Timmaraju
Ms. Kazen and her class, and Parent Volunteer, Lisa Bonoma
Ms. Thomson and her class, and Parent Volunteer, Stacy Gleason
Mrs. Belko and her class
Mrs. Neshek and her class

Additional help from:
Mr. Hoyle and his 5th grade class, and Parent Volunteer, Jamie Voegler


California Citizen-Scientist Bee Monitoring Pocket Guide

Information provided by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

Click here for the pdf version of this pocket guide