06 • 20 • 2012

School Green Team Takes Over Maintaining Their OFG

The Franklin Elementary School Ocean Friendly Garden (OFG) is now in the good hands of the School's Green Team. A great turn out of Green Team and West LA/Malibu OFG Sub-Committee volunteers showed up yesterday morning to weed and mulch the entire garden. G3/The Green Gardens Group, the designers and leaders of last year's installation of this OFG by 45+ volunteers, led several similar maintenance training days over the last year as part of follow-up to the installation.

We send a big “thank you” to out-going Green Team Chairperson, Natacha Arnaud, for organizing the day. Natacha has been involved from the beginning, helping with securing the School as a site for an OFG. The OFG looks great! Also, WLAM OFG Sub-Committee's Tom Rau has done a super job working with the Green Team and monitor the site, e.g., see that the “smart” irrigation controller is set right. Tom is a landscape architect and a graduate of G3's Core Concepts Workshop.

Green Team Co-Chairs Julie Hanson and Jennifer Kennedy, will be taking over responsibility for the garden in the Fall.

Some of the items discussed pursuing next year include:

  1. Adding signs to identify plants and explain importance of the garden and unique features;
  2. Planting some additional plants in the September/October to fill in empty spaces where plants died or were damaged; and
  3. Approaching the school administration and teachers in the Fall to gauge interest in having 3rd grade classrooms visit and learn about the garden. 

It is great to find out that Arleen Ferrara, parent and owner of Satori Garden Design, has been planting and tending beautiful OFGs INSIDE the School grounds. Arleen is an active member of the Los Angeles District (equivalent to a Surfrider Chapter) of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD). She is interested in Surfrider, APLD and School District staff collaborating on a workday to cut out some areas of asphalt inside the campus so that more veggie garden beds can be created.

School District Grounds Manager, Terance Venable, has said he can help with doing the cutting and removal. Russell Ackerman, from the City of Santa Monica's Office of Sustainability, has offered to provide maintenance training to School District staff.

With this great team and a wonderful learning garden, the Green Team, Surfrider Chapter and the surrounding community have a great resource for educating students, neighbors and staff.