School Programs

The goals of TPF’s K-12 education programs are to help all students develop the knowledge and skills they need to appreciate California’s natural heritage and to become environmentally literate adults. The programs inspire students and teachers alike to appreciate, understand and value California’s native plants and the habitats they create.
K-12 programs include field trips, on-site lessons at schools and community-based organizations, and garden-design consultation. Our curricula combine science, art, math and language arts to engage students through hands-on experiences that are based on California Department of Education academic standards. Through direct observation and practice, students learn about California native plants from their soil needs, root structures and leaf adaptations to plant-animal interactions, uses by indigenous peoples and water issues.

To create strong connections between students and native habitats, the Foundation consults on the design of native-plant gardens at school sites. Our native garden design training gives teachers the option of turning the entire project over to their students, from site analysis to mapping to research to design. On-site native gardens give students daily exposure to natural experiences and let teachers use the gardens as outdoor classrooms for multi-curricular applications.