The Surfrider Foundation: Protecting Oceans, Waves and Beaches since 1984

Sign Up For Our bi-weekly SOUP Newsletter!
Volunteers needed: 10

Project: Clean Water

West High School Schoolyard Habitat and OFG

Project Description

In conjunction with the South Bay Chapter OFG program, students are integrating the real-life experiences of building an OFG and Schoolyard Habitat (under US Fish and Wildlife’s Schoolyard Habitat Program grant) in the approximately 12,000 sq. ft. area between two buildings (totaling approx. 17,000 sq. ft. of roof space for runoff) into their classwork. 

Concrete Goals

The area was previously turf/weed covered, so sheet mulching is the most cost and effort-effective way to convert the weedy greenery into luscious loamy soil. G3 calls the process “Soil Lasagna“.  Look at the steps on G3’s blog post, and you’ll see why. More sheet mulching is being done, and planting and irrigation will be done in the coming months or wait till the beginning of the school year in the Fall.

Specific Plan

Huge groups of students and community members have participated in two G3 Hands-On Workshops (HOWs), sponsored by the City of Torrance, to transform the site:
- Site Evaluation - to analyze water use, soil health, existing plant material and rainwater harvesting potential
- Sheet Mulching - The City of Torrance provided tools, wheelbarrows, free city mulch (from fresh tree trimmings), and the invaluable expertise of Omar, a Torrance Public Works employee (shown in group picture in middle wearing orange).

Project Leaders

This landscape transformation is the brainchild of two teachers at West High School - Betty Burkhard (Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Studies) and Ann Cortina (AP Biology) – who started the process a year prior by attending an Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) Watershed Basics Class in the City of Torrance

Chuck Schaich, Conservation Coordinator for the City of Torrance, is spearheading the city’s support of the project.

Promotion & Documentation