More than 140 UCSD Alumni Association members, local educators, students, parents, and community members gathered at Oneonta Elementary School Saturday, Feb. 20 in a community beautification project.
Service day volunteers helped create three different types of gardens for students to help instill pride and learn hands-on about science, native plants, and nutrition. Volunteers also painted a large U.S. map on the playground for the students. The youngest Triton volunteers painted fish and wildlife themed bricks to be installed along a walkway.
Oneonta Elementary School is a high-achieving TK-6 school in the South Bay Union School District and is located in Imperial Beach. Most of the school’s 550 students are from low-income households and all are eligible for free breakfast and lunch. With a large number of students on campus from early morning to early evening, Oneonta’s staff wanted to renew the campus grounds into a lively place for children to learn and grow!
The event was part of the San Diego Promise for Education. That promise is a sustained commitment to make a positive impact in local schools and show the local educational community how much UC San Diego cares by featuring a variety of service opportunities for members of the Triton Family, to share their unique talents and expertise at local schools.
Chris Garcia from Therapeutic Landscape Design Services planned the three gardens: restorative meadow with natural rock and wood features and native plants; butterfly oasis featuring a variety of plants to attract butterflies year-round; and a set of 4x8’ raised bed vegetable planters. Garcia was hands on before, during and after the service day to make sure things were ready for the students on Monday morning.
Oneonta sixth grade student Jahzel Sesma volunteered at the event and helped to decorate paving bricks “That was fun, but then we went over to the Butterfly Oasis and we each got our own plant to put into the ground. Now when we come back to school on Monday I can be like ‚That‘s the plant I planted.’“
Hailey Maxe, the Oneonta Student Council President who had welcomed the volunteers in the morning on behalf of the entire student body, said of her day “It was real fun. I painted a brick with purple flowers, then I shoveled mulch and planted plants then I went home and took a nap.”
Mayor Dedina later posted on his Facebook page saying “It was great to see all the UCSD alum and students and Oneonta parents and students doing great work.”
The Home Depot, SWB Southwest Boulder and Stone, San Diego Botanic Garden provided plants and materials and the Oneonta Student Council donated $100.