School Garden Provides Relaxing Break From Plugged-In Campus


Maggie Doolittle

Art teacher Justin Seligman works on a new goat pen in the Campolindo garden.

From the moment students enter the school garden, they are greeted by an ivy-covered entryway and towering sunflowers. Among the vegetation that grows in the center of the garden’s space, students can find tomatoes, pomegranates, white eggplants, and pears.

Art teacher Justin Seligman, the organizer of the garden’s reform over the past few years, has put beach umbrellas over the rustic wooden picnic tables where students can socialize, paint, read, and relax. It’s incredibly refreshing, a break from the cranked AC and suffocating masks of a post-COVID-19 school experience.

Seligman said, “I took over the garden about 2 years ago, and the goal is to be able to make a nice space for the whole community to enjoy….to get us out into the sunlight and away from technology for a few minutes”.

After students and staff received the Institute For Teaching grant for $20,000 from the California Teacherś Association and the $1,000 Leaf Award from Sustainable Lafayette, Seligman and motivated volunteers were able to achieve this goal.

More than anything, the garden is a community created and maintained space. From the goat pen, recently built by the Troop 810 Eagle Scouts, to the worms in the soil donated by school librarian Sarah Morgan, almost all of the garden’s recent developments have been a community effort to enrich our school. In turn, the garden gives back, providing produce that is handed out to Campo students and staff, enriching hands-on artistic and scientific learning experiences, and a grounding break from the fast-paced nature of modern student life.

“Instead of underneath fluorescent lights with the teacher lecturing at you, it’s a lot of open air, and it’s really nice,” says senior Nicola Morash, who has gone to the garden with her art class.

Fellow art student and senior Julie Dawson said, “We get to look at the flowers and get inspiration from them. It’s nice to have what you’re going to draw right in front of you.”

For students curious about working in the garden, more information on the garden workdays on the Remind app. Join Seligman’s reminders by using this link, or by texting @22e7ac to the number 81010.