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How Do You Envision a Memorial Garden at a High School?

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Possible site of Bobby Salcedo Memorial Garden
Possible site of Bobby Salcedo Memorial Garden

Youth Voices is working with students from Mountain View High School to explore El Monte/South El Monte and the surrounding communities. The students have formed teams to explore and investigate their communities, map assets, collect and share stories, data and community input for their projects. All the while they are learning and expanding their knowledge of digital media and civic engagement. Follow their work here and on Instagram and Twitter by using #kcetyv.

Team
FlowerBears

Team Members
Guadalupe A.
Jourdan P.
Laura T.

Twitter
@FlowerBearsMVHS

We, the Flower Bears, want to create a Bobby Salcedo Memorial Garden here at Mountain View High School. The garden we envision would be comprised of native plants and possibly edibles. By establishing a school garden the campus would be able to honor the legacy of Mr. Agustín Roberto "Bobby" Salcedo, past El Monte City School District (EMCSD) board member and MVHS alumnus, as well as promote environmental education. A sustained school garden will also unify our student body, as clubs may collaborate in its maintenance.

By establishing a memorial garden at the school, the community would also benefit because the garden will offer an educational opportunity for the surrounding neighborhood. Any lessons on sustainability learned from the garden could be shared with and applied at local home gardens, by students, staff, and volunteers. This would allow for more greenery in the City of El Monte, which is currently desperately needed. Once the garden is established, students will be exposed to the process and beauty of raising plants, including bonding with others in activities related to gardening. The garden would add to our Viking pride, and Mr. Salcedo's legacy will never be forgotten.

Area where the first part of the garden may be implemented
Area where the first part of the garden may be implemented.

To reach the goal of creating a garden, we have contacted teachers who were involved with the development of a past campus garden, including Ms. Lee Porter from the science department, as well as reaching out to various community organizations, such as Amigos de los Rios, that specializes in developing green spaces and improving environmental and community health. Mr. Larry Cecil, MVHS principal, has also shown support for our cause and shared his ideas for where and how the garden may be developed.

We will also reach out to the Salcedo family to learn more about Mr. Salcedo and share ideas of what they would like to incorporate in the Garden. He was a well respected and loved community member, but he was also part of a strong family so we want to make sure to work with his family and incorporate their memories and ideas as much as possible.

As part of learning more about gardens, KCET provided us the opportunity to visit, Earthworks Farm, located in South El Monte. The organic garden provides the community with options of picking their own fruits and vegetables straight from the source. The farm's programmer and development director, Ms. Marianne Zaugg, gave us a tour of the farm. Varieties of vegetables, flowers, and fruits including sunflowers, radishes, apples, and oranges are all present at the farm.

Since California is in a major drought, we asked senior farmer Mr. Angel Abarca how he is dealing with the drought. One of the things Mr. Abarca mentioned was that the drought had limited how much water the farm uses. With this information, we determined that the memorial garden needs to use as little water as possible.

Our ideal garden will use as few extra resources as possible. If possible, we plan on using drip irrigation to water the plants, as it is more eco-friendly and less wasteful than the traditional sprinkler. Different campus clubs may be interested in caring for certain plots of the garden, and would handle a majority of the maintenance.

In order to help fund the project, more research will be done to seek grants and external fundraisers are a possibility. We will be updating our Twitter page and promoting online to gain school and community support. To appeal to existing school clubs and classes, we have plans to reach out and encourage them to use the garden as a meeting or event space, as well as an open air classroom for research and experiments.

In the future, we hope that this garden acts as a stepping stone for future environmental improvements at Mountain View High School. If possible, we would like to see the garden extend outside of the allotted area and meet the San Gabriel River's banks to create a more visually appealing scene and a help boost our community's health.

Path where the garden may extend to the San Gabriel River
Path where the garden may extend to the San Gabriel River.

To participate in our community cause and help establish a Bobby Salcedo Memorial Garden, follow us on Twitter @FlowerBearsMVHS or share your thoughts and ideas by clicking on the Response button at the top of the page and tell us, "How you envision a Bobby Salcedo Memorial Garden?"

The Flower Bears hard at work on their community cause
The Flower Bears hard at work on their community cause.

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