On Saturday, May 19 Aeolian teacher Juvenal Martinez was invited to the fair grounds to attend a special awards ceremony where he was one of only four teachers in Los Angeles County to receive special recognition from the 48th Agricultural District. Mr. Martinez received a plaque and commendations from the Agricultural District, LA County Supervisors, CA State Senate and Assembly. In addition both he and his garden club were awarded prize money. Mr. Martinez was recognized for his long support of student gardens and for rebuilding the garden after last summer's razed earth renovations.
Mr. Martinez received his award just one day after learning that both his garden clubs took home First Place at the fair. On Friday, May 18th Aeolian Garden Club Advisors Mr. Martinez, Mrs. Martinez, and Mr. Risser took approximately 75 students to the Pomona Fair grounds to view the fair exhibits including their own FIRST PLACE entries for school gardens. Aeolian took First place for both primary grades AND upper grades.
The garden has been expanded over the years to many times its original size, and takes up a chunk of our campus. When you do a Google Earth search of Aeolian you can clearly see that Aeolian is literally one of the few green spots in the Los Nietos community and surrounding areas. The school garden serves as a lush, green, oasis in the middle of a sea of buildings and factories. It serves as a learning resource for our whole school, not just the garden club kids.
When Mr. Martinez started the Aeolian Garden Club many years ago it consisted of a couple of raised beds and a few interested students. Today, there are over 80 students, five faculty advisors, a Master Gardner volunteer, and many parent volunteers involved. Additionally, the Garden Club is fortunate to receive the support from the district office, corporate sponsorships, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and parent donations. The garden club now has approximately 40 raised beds, a greenhouse, a compositing bin, and an A-frame planting device.
We are teaching our students to value and respect living things. The garden supports standards across all content areas. We are planting many different kinds of plants, food crops, flowers and fruit trees. These plants are seen as a resource for observation and experimentation. We have planted a lot of California native flowers that attract butterflies and some bushes that attract hummingbirds. We don’t use pesticides so there are lots of miscellaneous bugs and worms.
All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and support of many people including our own Superintendent, Mr. Vasquez who often takes time out of his busy day to visit the garden and our Garden Club students. We appreciate his support.
But our garden all began with the dream and perseverance of one…Mr. Martinez. On behalf and the students, staff, and parents of Aeolian we thank you Mr. Martinez for your dedication to making Aeolian a more beautiful community. We thank you for changing the lives of our students. Congratulations on your award. You are very deserving.
If you haven’t had a chance to stop by and view our garden, Come and observe.
By: Principal Mrs. Lee-Ruiz