As a garden educator at Ellwood and Isla Vista Schools in Goleta, I’m often ambivalent about garden rules. On one hand, we need to ensure safety for plants and especially students entrusted to us. On the other hand, these kids are bound by rules, walls, and fluorescent lights all day every day, and the garden is a great escape, an oasis. Are too many garden rules stifling their joy? If we want to foster stewardship values and behaviors in these students, shouldn’t we encourage any connection to nature that these kids choose to make, even if a lizard or two dies in the process? Reasonable people might disagree.
Please read this thoughtful article regarding these questions and more about our role as environmental educators.