When it comes to nature, small changes can ripple into large effects. We not only research & interpret these effects with own students — we also get our hands dirty sustainably rebuilding what was once lost. Before SSW built the gardens at History San Jose, it was filled with non-native plants & largely absent of pollinators. We wanted to learn about the history of the habitat, so we turned to locals who had lived through San Jose’s changes. One thing that kept coming up was that a once-large population of monarch butterflies & bees had vanished. To see if we could lure them back, an Eagle Scout built test beds. Our students filled the beds with native plants. Soon the bees & butterflies returned. Unexpectedly, they also saw a rise in passive pollinators like lizards, which has the added benefit of controlling garden pests.
Thirteen years later, History San Jose is now a refuge for pollinators & people. We were allotted more land & with the help of over a thousand volunteers from NVIDIA Foundation, the lawns were transformed into an urban garden & an outdoor science lab.
Our gardens have been an opportunity to help the underserved neighborhoods surrounding History Park. These neighborhoods were hit particularly hard by the pandemic. Food security became a huge issue, so it was vital to have a way to get fresh food & have outdoor space to enjoy.
It’s wonderful seeing the gardens’ influence continue to ripple. Through our partnership with Sacred Heart Services we have shared the importance of native plants & pollinators with our students, community garden families, & Park visitors. We added some fairy houses that engage little ones to look closely at the plants & spark conversation between visitors & gardeners. They take the lessons they learn back to their homes, spreading support for pollinators across our community. By supporting our project you are not just funding the purchase of plants & soil, you are also supporting a community of people, animals & plants
Funded by San Jose, CA (April 2023)