Growing a Garden of Engineers! by Jean Gradias, Cold Spring Elementary School verified non-profit

This Cause Has Ended
Launched Mar 16, 2017
Ends Apr 26, 2017
This Cause Has Ended
Category: Sciences
Class Size: 175
Grade: K - 6th 

Thank you for joining us on this journey!  Our Cold Spring School second grade engineers believe you are never too young to make the world a better place - and they have started with their own backyard.

Through a study on ecosystems and habitats, the second graders took on the responsibility to repair a habitat space on campus that was in need of improvement.  A "green space" in a central courtyard of campus had long since ceased to be "green" after years of sustained drought.  The result was a large patch of bare dirt that quickly became mud from the unusually heavy winter rains.  Any second grader can tell you that a dirt patch in the middle of the upper quad is a recipe for muddy shoes and filthy classroom carpets.  Seeing this problem inspired the class to find a solution.

After weeks of researching native plants, investigating how to sustain gardens, surveying the needs of the community, and planning potential layouts for the space, the kids sat down with landscape architects and community garden experts to collaborate on a final plan for the struggling area.  The students then bravely presented their plans to the school board, with the promise that if permission was granted to improve the space, they as students would be prepared to work as hard as they could to raise the money to pay for it.

We are excited to share that we have been given permission to move forward, and now we begin the effort of raising funds to turn the hard work of this project into a reality.  

The money donated will be used to install a native garden with several "wildlife observation stations" for students of all grade levels to sit and enjoy the hummingbirds and butterflies we hope to attract.  Included in the garden will be multiple pathways for students to safely move through the space (without tracking mud into class!).  In addition, the garden will have tree stumps, logs, and other natural seating options where students can sit and quietly read or work outside of the classroom.  

Our quoted materials costs for the garden came to roughly $2,200.  If we were to include labor, our costs rise to $5,000.  We believe that if we can raise the money for materials and equipment rental, our school community will step in to support us in installing the garden.   

Every second grader has pledged to get as dirty as necessary in order to successfully install the garden, so the heart and soul of the project is already in place.  The only thing missing, is you!  

Please consider investing in our project!  One of the core values of our STEAM program is that we approach science as an opportunity for stewardship.  We would love to be able to give back to our school community, and bring an even greater opportunity for the students here to appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature.  

If we do not meet our goal...

If we do not meet our goal, we will still use these funds toward our goal!  The kids will sell lemonade, crafts, and wash windows until we have enough money to make it happen.  Anything you contribute will add to our fundraising pool.  While we hope to break ground in the spring to install the garden, this class has four more years at Cold Spring to set their plan into action.  I don't see them giving up.  If you've met them, I think you would agree!

Suggested Investments


Buy a native plant!

Stock our garden with native plants that attract hummingbirds and butterflies!
Invest $5


Build a path

Our plans include several entrances and paths through the garden. These need decomposed granite and edging.
Invest $25


Make a rain garden

Donate stones to create a rain garden leading from the downspouts to the drain.
Invest $50


Flower bed borders

Help us create our natural raised beds with stone borders.
Invest $100

Jean Gradias

K-6 STEAM teacher, Cold Spring Elementary School

This school year our school embarked on creating a K-6 STEAM program in order to support our transition into the Next Generation Science Standards.

Beginning an elementary engineering program from the ground up has been a rewarding adventure! Our students have used project based learning and the engineering design process to create everything from functioning models of human organs, to a symphony of well-tuned musical instruments.

I am grateful for the privilege of joining our kids on their journeys of discovery, problem-solving, failed first attempts, and triumphant solutions. This type of learning has an impact that extends far beyond the reach of elementary school.

In STEAM, our students are fixers. They are yes-sayers, and "I don't know but I can figure it out" believers. They collaborate. They persevere. And fundamentally, they see science as stewardship. They serve the community, and recognize their role in contributing positively to the world around them.

We dream big with our projects - and sometimes, we need help to turn them into a reality. We are so grateful for the support of generous donors who believe in us and what we are doing. In return, we promise to send out generations of students ready to change the world. These kids are a good investment!

Cold Spring Elementary School View All Causes

Santa Barbara, California

The misison of Cold Spring School is to provide a quality educational program in a secure family atmosphere, which fosters a balance of academic achievement, healthy personal development, social and environmental responsibility, and enthusiasm for lifelong learning. Teachers, staff, parents, and the community will work together to create a school environment in which cooperative problem-solving, creativity, and innovative thinking are encouraged, and the unique potential of each individual student and employee is valued and nurtured.

Weekend 2 update!

May 13, 2017

These kids are strong!  Another productive Saturday morning has brought the garden even closer to completion.  With the support of an amazing crew of rock haulers and creek builders, we have our pathways laid out and drainage creek in place.  We hope to plant/mulch next weekend, and complete the DG pathways over Memorial Day.  We are tentatively planning a ribbon cutting ceremony/community celebration in early June.  We will keep you posted.  In the mean time, enjoy the pics and know that your donations made this all possible.  Thank you!!

Jean + the garden crew


It's starting!

May 4, 2017

Hi friends,

I wanted to share some exciting news! This weekend, the first steps toward installing the garden will begin!  We will be tilling the soil, removing the weeds, and preparing the area for the big items (rocks, logs, etc) to be placed.  If you are interested in joining, a landscaping crew (generously donated by the Christiansen family) arrives at 7:45 on Saturday morning.  Come on out and lend a hand!  Thank you all for being a part of this journey!

You did it!

April 26, 2017

Thanks to our amazing community of generous donors, these kids will have the opportunity to get started on the garden transformation even sooner than we thought!  We are ready to break ground and start transforming this space, all because of your commitment to these kids and their ambition.  I will post pictures of our progress and keep our local community updated on opportunities to participate in the installation.  We could never have done this without you - and we can't wait to share the progress!

jacqueline phillips
Allison MacPhail x 2
Ashley Walmsley x 2
Anne&Robert Walmsley
John Semon
Carol Radcliffe
Rebekah Prato
Layne R Deyling
Ann Garry
Lu Lulu
Christy Peterson
Gabriella Klein
Johanna Thorpe
Jean Gradias x 2
Lara Wooten
Mitchell M Thomas
Michelle McToldridge
Tricia Price
Hawkes family
Erin Goligoski
Gary Fuller
Renee Dektor
Eric Greenspan
Whitney Yadav
Allison Marcillac
Cara M Christensen
Sierra Boatwright
Helena and Gary Hill
Barb and Kevin Butler
Kimie Navetta

Barb Butler April 13, 2017

We are so proud of all your hard work, and can't wait to see the final product! Have fun! Barb and Kevin Butler (Lila's grandparents)

Gary Fuller April 12, 2017

What a great job you are doing

Mitchell April 12, 2017

Exciting project! Good luck!

April 9, 2017

Wonderful idea! Good luck with the project!

Lu Lulu April 3, 2017


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