Classroom Outreach Programs – “We Come to You”

The Foundation offers classroom programs for K-12. The 60-minute lessons are California Dept. of Education standards-based and feature hands-on activities that teach students about California native plants and the natural world. The vital ecological link between insects, other animals and native plants is emphasized. Students will understand the water-saving benefits of native plants and the crucial ecological function the plants fulfill.

Fee: $3.00 per student, Title 1 schools; $5.00 per student, all others. All worksheets, factsheets and materials are supplied by the Foundation.

Contact: Diana Sherwood, K-12 Community Education, at k12 at or 818-768-1802.

For middle and high school students: Class includes an illustrated lecture explaining the “big picture” about California native plants — geography, soils, native plant adaptations and water use, and why native plants are essential to wildlife. Live native plants supplement the lesson, as well as a discussion of careers in botany, horticulture, agroecology, landscape design and architecture. An eye-opener with real world connections!

For elementary school students: 

LeavesClass“All About Leaves” centers on leaf adaptations of California native plants. Students observe native plants, animals and insects as the food web is discussed, then examine foliage from different habitats and, through writing and drawing, analyze leaf characteristics to determine their adaptive purposes. Science demonstrations show how leaf color affects heat absorption and how plant oils combat water loss. Students make predictions and test their hypotheses. This program satisfies these science standards: 3rd grade, 3.3.a, 3.3.d, 3.5.c, 3.5.d and 3.5.e; 4th grade, 4.2.a, 4.3.c and 4.6.b.


butterflies_class “Butterflies, Caterpillars and Native Plants” focuses on the life cycles of Southern California butterflies and native plant forage needs of their caterpillars. Using plant samples, worksheets and color photographs of butterflies and their larvae, students learn through art, writing and movement. Habitat and food web connections will also be explored. This program satisfies these science standards: 2nd grade, 2.2.a, 2.2.b and 2.2.c; 3rd grade, 3.3.a, 3.3.c and 3.3.d; 4th grade, 4.2.a, 4.2.b and 4.3.c; and, for 2nd grade, visual arts standards 2.1.3 and 2.2.5.


Soils_class“Every Soil Tells a Story” Like to dig in the dirt? This program’s for you! Through hands-on activities, students will learn about soil composition and evolution, soil pH, water-retention, and root structures, adaptations and functions. Note: For this class, there must be a pre-approved place for your students to dig on your campus. This program satisfies these Earth Sciences standards: 3rd grade, 3.3.c, 3.9.a; 4th grade, 4.4.a.b, 4.5.a.b.c; 6th grade, 6.2.a.b.c.d, 6.5.b.c.e.

tongva_rope_making“Tongva Rope and Other Tools from Native Plants” centers on one of the most crucial skills of native California culture. Students will be engaged with hands-on activities and learn how indigenous people of our region adapted to their natural environment and used its resources. Other goods and tools will also be shown to demonstrate how native plant materials formed the basis for indigenous cultures. This program satisfies these social science standards: 3rd grade, 3.1.2 and 3.2.2; and 4th grade, 4.1.3, 4.2.1 and 4.2.5.