Field reports from

Atwater Avenue Elementary School

Created in the fall of 2011, this little vegetable garden includes raised beds, an outdoor sink, picnic tables, and a composting center. EnrichLA has proudly been delivering the Garden Ranger Program to this school since then.

Summer Harvest Party at Atwater Ave

By Natalie Hodson / June 14, 2017

My goodness, I can’t believe it’s already summer break! Time flies when you’re having fun gardening. I wanted to celebrate the end of the school year with an awesome craft project. We know why the sun is important to the garden, but it can do a lot of other things too, both good and bad.…

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Planting for Friendship at Atwater Ave

By Natalie Hodson / June 11, 2017

Summer is here, and it’s high time we filled up all this empty space at Atwater Ave! I brought about 25 seedlings to the garden today, and I was sure my young garden friends would love to get their hands a little dirty. We first learned about a garden guideline that’s a little hard to see…

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Starting from seed at Atwater Ave

By Natalie Hodson / June 10, 2017

The first class of my last session before summer is already here! Students got to learn about the beginning and end of a plant – the humble seed! After students learned about the different parts that make up a seed, I asked them to help me with a seed harvesting experiment. Students got to use magnifying…

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Harvest & Party at Atwater Ave

By Natalie Hodson / June 9, 2017

Partying and harvesting is out and about at Atwater Ave Elementary! The garden is in full swing at Atwater Ave. Students celebrated their last class this session by helping harvest some carrots to make a beautiful salad. After pulling out some carrots, we passed it around to compare smell, texture, and looks to what we…

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Atwater Avenue Elementary

By enrichla / May 30, 2017
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Understanding Water at Atwater Ave

By Natalie Hodson / May 11, 2017

As everyone should know, water is a big deal in the garden. But where does it come from, and how does it reach us here in our semi-arid LA? Class this week was all about water – where it comes from, and how humans capture and control it. We talked quite a bit about the…

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Returning to our Roots at Atwater Ave!

By Natalie Hodson / May 10, 2017

My goodness, summer is here in full force already! Class was held on a windy day in the high 80s, and still our young gardeners were ready to go. Today was all about the things you rarely see. The things that creep up on you slowly, that thrive in dark and hidden places….that’s right, I’m talking…

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Earth Day Ecosystems at Atwater Ave Elementary

By Natalie Hodson / May 9, 2017

In honor of Earth Day, I decided to use classes at Atwater Ave Elementary to talk about ecosystems and interconnectivity. The garden is very important to us, but what relationship does that have in our everyday lives and in Los Angeles? We talked about what makes up our immediate physical environment, and what plays a…

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Flower power at Atwater Ave Elementary

By Natalie Hodson / April 17, 2017

Thanks to all the rain this winter in Los Angeles, the city is covered with beautiful blooms and scents. I decided that the flowers of our school garden and our city deserve a moment in the spotlight, so gardeners got a whole new appreciation of flowers in class this week! Students drew out different parts…

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A new spring class begins at Atwater Ave

By Natalie Hodson / April 16, 2017

Last week was the first class for a brand new set of gardeners here at Atwater Ave! It was also the first time I’ve had a repeating section of gardeners from earlier in the year, so I was very excited to jump right in. I spoke with all of the new gardeners about the things…

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Atwater Ave learns about friends & foes

By team / March 31, 2017

This week at Atwater Ave, students got to peek behind the serene curtain of the garden, into the intense battle of the insect kingdom! We learned all about the garden’s most common pests and beneficials, and what their roles are. For example, this ladybug we spotted is on the hunt for aphids and other little…

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Harvest hunt at Atwater Ave

By team / March 30, 2017

This week at Atwater Ave, the students got a chance to show off their gardening chops with a garden scavenger hunt! The students were challenged to use their senses and observational skills to find different things in the garden. Many of these were from different lessons we’d had together- root types, learning about seedlings, and…

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The Circle of a Seed’s Life at Atwater Ave Elementary

By Natalie Hodson / March 18, 2017

Now seriously, forget the chicken – what came first, the seed or the plant? It’s such a cyclical process, and this week in class, I urged my students to pay homage to the tiny seed and all it does for us. We learned about the 3 main parts of a seed, and what the purpose of…

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Decompose like a Pro at Atwater Ave Elementary

By Natalie Hodson / March 17, 2017

Gardeners this week at Atwater Elementary got along like a 2-to-1 ratio of browns to greens in a compost pile! Oho, just a little trash humor for all of you readers at home. We talked all about the importance of compost and how to tell if a compost pile is healthy and effective. First, we…

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A Deep Dive into Trash at Atwater Ave Elementary

By Natalie Hodson / March 10, 2017

This class we talked about humanity’s number 1 byproduct: trash! The gardeners this rotation were already trash professionals, and were able to tell me what our blue, black, and green bins in LA are for. I wanted to speak with the students not only about the “what” goes in which bin, but also the “why” of…

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Sunshine and Beautiful Weather at Atwater

By Natalie Hodson / February 28, 2017

Week two at Atwater Elementary brought us sunshine and beautiful weather, making it the perfect day to get my young gardeners’ hands dirty. We started the week by learning the 6 different parts of a plant and all of the roles they play. Students drew the life cycle of a plant, from seed to shining…

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Garden Intro at Atwater Ave Elementary

By Natalie Hodson / February 22, 2017

  I’ve got a brand new set of gardeners this week at Atwater Ave Elementary! That means it’s time to whip this rain-soaked garden into shape for spring. It’s been raining pretty consistently for the past few months – hallelujah – and some things have started to look a little weather-worn. I spent this week…

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Atwater Elementary’s Harvest Party: Winter Edition

By Natalie Hodson / February 5, 2017

Somehow six weeks have passed already. This Ranger is honestly flummoxed with how fast time flies, but even I can’y deny… it’s time to party! With the garden looking truly spectacular, and the romaine already coming back after a first harvest, I figured a fresh garden salad was definitely in order.   The students brought in…

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Compost To-Go at Atwater Ave Elementary

By Natalie Hodson / February 5, 2017

Ah, the penultimate day of classes is always so bittersweet. The best news was that the weather finally cooperated today, and we could go outside and see what the rain brought. I for one was not so happy to find that our dinosaur kale had gone a little sideways. It may be hard to tell…

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Poems on a Rainy Day at Atwater Elementary

By Natalie Hodson / January 18, 2017

    I’ve got to admit, I came back to Atwater this week with a slight feeling of trepidation. Three weeks of winter vacation, plus all this lovely rain?! I had no idea what I was going to walk into!     Well, you heard it here, folks…plants apparently love rain, and I came back to…

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Parts of a Plant, Holiday Style at Atwater Elementary

By Natalie Hodson / January 2, 2017

It’s beginning to look a lot like winter in the Atwater Ave Elementary school garden! The weather is cool, the sky is cloudy, and our cold-weather crops are giving us a big old smile. We spent this class learning all about different parts of a plant and what they do! Students drew out the 6…

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First day of classes at Atwater Ave Elementary

By Natalie Hodson / December 9, 2016

It was the first day of garden class for many new students at Atwater Ave Elementary this past week. Most of them are brand new to gardening, so I’m very excited to get them introduced to a whole new world of soil, seedlings, and magic! We spent most of today playing some garden introduction games…

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Harvest Party at Atwater Ave Elementary

By Natalie Hodson / December 9, 2016

The last day of our rotation was all about healthy habits. We know how to identify healthy, wholesome foods in the garden…but how do we carry those habits into a grocery store? What’s the difference between organic and regular foods, not just for produce, but for cereals and snacks? We talked about the most popular…

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Learning about Seasons & Holiday Foods at Atwater Elementary

By Natalie Hodson / November 18, 2016

This was our last day of class before Thanksgiving, and food was obviously on my mind today! Gardeners learned all about seasonal foods this lesson, including why our traditional holiday foods are so linked to the weather. Nowadays we can go into the grocery story any old day and buy watermelon, turnips, and corn, all…

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Pests & Beneficials Run Free at Atwater Elementary

By Natalie Hodson / November 15, 2016

This week at Atwater Elementary, we went back to basics. We just saw how the human world decides our ultimate American competition with the election process, so I wanted to delve into all of the microscopic competitions playing out in our very own garden. These photos show beautiful, bountiful examples of vibrant greenery – right? In…

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Seed Experiments at Atwater Elementary

By Natalie Hodson / November 13, 2016

  Last week gardeners at Atwater Elementary learned all about different parts of a plant – from seed and back again! This week we took a closer look at seeds – where they come from, and what they’re made up of, especially in plants that don’t produce fruit. There were two great examples of non-fruiting…

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Learning the Parts of a Plants at Atwater Elementary

By Natalie Hodson / October 31, 2016

Second week with my new gardeners was all about learning the 6 parts of a plant, and the role they play. Let’s all pretend I didn’t go to art school and please excuse the drawing above – sketching under pressure is tough, guys!   Students matched descriptions of actions with the different parts of the plants,…

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Welcome new gardeners at Atwater Elementary!

By Natalie Hodson / October 29, 2016

The first day of the new semester began with a bang! The garden was full of pollinators, our seedlings were popping, and my new gardeners were ready to explore.   We went over garden guidelines, especially the importance of asking before harvesting! We played a game of “identify the plant,” where volunteers had to identify…

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Students at Atwater grew with the seasons

By Ashley Banuelos / October 8, 2016

The students at Atwater Avenue Elementary learned about the seasons and climate this week. Once they became familiar with what grew in what season, they pointed out plants that thrive in either the winter or the summer season. They also reviewed what soil was made of by viewing the different layers of sand, silt, and…

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clay, silt sand @ Atwater Elementary

By Zuri Blandon / October 2, 2016

  September 29,2016 Sand clay and Silt make  a rich, balance soil or “loam” Students  from Atwater Elementary  discovered just that..  they  touched and observed samples of good soils and depleted soil. They explored through the garden finding good and bad soil, planted carrot seeds, and sample some fresh kale from the edible garden. Ranger-zuri

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Atwater Elementary Say Hello to their Sprouts

By Natalie Hodson / September 23, 2016

Things are coming up in Atwater Elementary! The seeds we planted the first week are making themselves known – we can see squash, garlic, and garden beans starting to grow! Thursday was a great day to sit back with some basil-mint-lemon water and talk about photosynthesis! We learned about the different parts of a plant, and…

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Atwater Elementary Discovers Beneficials and Pests

By Natalie Hodson / September 21, 2016

The second week at the garden was all about exploring different relationships in the garden – the friend and the foe; the beneficial and the pest. We learned the most common garden pests and beneficials, including ladybugs, aphids, and assassin bugs. We also learned about our very own very current pest, the spittlebug, which leaves…

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Welcome back, Atwater Elementary

By Natalie Hodson / September 9, 2016

Welcome back, dear Atwater students! The garden is looking good – here you can see some of our citrus coming in, and dinosaur kale wandering about. Today was our first day of class, and I was so excited to get started!   Today the students had a refresh course in the garden. We went over garden rules and…

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Atwater Elementary Check-In

By team / August 29, 2016

I visited my new school garden at Atwater Elementary for the first time. I was impressed by how well maintained it seemed to be. The herbs and trees were thriving! Some vegetables took a hit with the summer heat, but I’m confident we can get it looking beautiful before classes start. Time to start pulling…

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Lavender at Atwater

By Shelby Thibodeaux / July 23, 2016

There is a giant Lavender bush at Atwater that has looked like it has been struggling during all of my visits. Since it is not in the garden beds and part of the landscaping around the garden I focused my attention on the garden beds and vegetable growing plants first. This week, the lavender bush…

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Roly Polies at Atwater

By Anne / May 30, 2016

  We learned all about the most famous garden pest – the roly poly! We learned that they are crustaceans, that they nibble on our plants, but they can be helpful decomposers…and much, much more! The kids know to head straight for the compost buckets when we’re hunting for rolies. We even found a mama…

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Atwater Herbs

By Anne / May 23, 2016

We learned to identify all the herbs growing in our garden at Atwater. The kids got to use their senses – look, smell, touch and taste – to identify the herbs. We made basil pesto and mint tea in the garden! We picked leaves off the basil and mint plant and talked about how all…

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Planting at Atwater

By Anne / May 16, 2016

We planted lots of seedlings at Atwater Avenue Elementary! The irrigation system was damaged, leaving many of the young plants and seeds in the garden to wilt. So, Ranger Anne patched it all up and had a fleet of kinder-2nd graders help replant much of the garden with donated seedlings. The kids loved getting their…

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Seeds at Atwater!

By Anne / May 7, 2016

The students at Atwater Elementary learned about seed germination and how seeds disperse! They learned that seeds need soil, water and the right temperature to start growing. We planted seeds in the garden and looked at seeds of different shapes and sizes!  

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Herbs at Atwater!

By Anne / April 18, 2016

For the last class of the session at Atwater elementary, we learned about delicious herbs. The kids learned that herbs are the leaves of certain plants that we use for things like tea and flavoring. We thought up examples of foods that contain herbs and we learned what the different herbs in our garden were…

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Composting at Atwater

By Anne / April 14, 2016

Atwater Elementary students learned about the magic of compost! The kinder classes checked out our rapid compost buckets that were in their final stage in the return to soil. They really enjoyed seeing critters like millipedes, earthworms, earwigs and our all-time favorite, the rollypolly. I explained that those adorable critters were the reason we were…

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Seasons at Atwater

By Anne / March 28, 2016

          At Atwater Elementary, we talked about the changing seasons. The kindergarten classes drew pictures of their favorite seasons, and then we talked about how plants have favorite growing seasons! We also ate some greens because we have an abundance these days… The third graders became planting pros and helped me…

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Seeds at Atwater

By Anne / March 14, 2016

Last week at Atwater Elementary, we learned about seeds. We talked about germination and looked at these real examples of the stages in seed growth from our garden. Then we talked about the different ways that seeds disperse – animals, wind, water and bursting! Seeds that disperse by wind (like dandelions) always get the kids…

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Insects at Atwater

By Anne / March 6, 2016

This week at Atwater Avenue Elementary we learned about insects! The kindergarten classes got to explore the garden like bees, buzzing around and looking for flowers. They found lots of real bees in the lavender, and while there was some screaming, they also managed to look close enough to notice that they were drinking nectar…

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New Classes at Atwater Ave

By Anne / February 29, 2016

We started a new round of classes at Atwater Ave this week! This round, we have kindergarten – 2nd grade students visiting the garden, so we started out by naming some of the parts of the plant. Each students drew a picture of his or her favorite fruit or vegetable, and then we tried to…

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