Alder Elementary Wonderland Garden

April 13, 2019

Alder Elementary is located in one of the most poverty impacted areas in Oregon and in a large hub of diverse immigrant populations. 84% of Alder students are children of color, 100% receive free/reduced price lunch, and many are bi-lingual, with 26 languages spoken in their homes.

Here, we strive to be a community of lifelong learners, to honor diversity, and to pursue excellence. Each member of our community is committed to this vision of excellence. It is evident in the display of student work, the emphasis on our school-wide life-skills program and the strong academic programs.

We are very proud to be the first "Dreamer School" in the Nation. As Dreamers, we are committed to the goal of getting each student through secondary school and onto college. This project will help make our school an equitable place for all students, so that each can reach his or her potential in school and beyond.

A school garden is a powerful environmental education tool. Through gardening, students become responsible caretakers. They have an opportunity to engage in agricultural practices on a small scale, learning about the responsibilities and impacts of land cultivation. They explore the web of interactions among the living and non-living players that sustain life.

For many children, a garden offers the only chance to get close to nature. Some of our students lack access to gardening spaces because of their living situations while others have limited exploratory free time in the outdoors due to the focus on indoor activities and participation in organized outdoor activities. School garden educators in urban environments frequently find their programs provide students’ first opportunity to dig into the soil and watch a plant grow.

Establishing a connection with nature at an early age is extremely important. Researchers discovered childhood experiences with nature are strongly linked to adult attitudes toward plants. They determined that participation in active gardening during childhood was the most important influence in explaining adult environmental attitudes and actions and concluded that even in urban areas where green spaces are limited, gardening programs for children can provide a strong enough connection to instill appreciation and respect for nature in adulthood.


Students attended


Staff attended


Additional Volunteers attended


Students will be impacted this year

Intended impact of project

Reduced environmental impact
Improved occupant health & performance
Increased environmental & sustainability literacy