“Matilija’s Landscaping Society Enriches Campus Grounds”


Matilija Junior High School Students improve the campus grounds as members of the “Landscaping Society” during the school’s weekly “Tutorial Enrichment” schedule

Every Thursday, Matilija Junior High School students participate in “Tutorial Enrichment” (TE), an hour set aside during school each week, where students can choose to use that time to get additional academic help from teachers, or participate in a school club.  For the 2017 – 18 school year, the academic support offerings include getting extra homework help, retaking a missed quiz or test, getting English Language (EL) help, or even working with a teacher to ensure the requisite subject notebooks are organized and well maintained.  As for the Clubs that meet during TE time, they include the “Time Capsule Committee” and “Landscaping Society” where students use that time to make their mark on campus in a unique and fulfilling way.

The Landscaping Society started in 2012 with the mission to work on projects that help rehab the natural habitat around campus.  According to Steve Gard, Social Studies teacher and Supervisor of the club, the projects can be large or small, and include everything from planting drought resistant succulents on school grounds, to moving large amounts of mulch with wheelbarrows, to even digging trenches for plants and natural drainage.  “The kids are really hands on with these projects,” said Gard.  “They are putting in the hard work to improve the aesthetic of their campus.”

Recent projects completed by the Landscaping Society include beautifying the marquee located at the entrance of the school, landscaping around the student memorial, and cleaning up the main campus walkway around the school’s auditorium.  Projects are determined by either the students or by the materials that are on hand.  “We rely primarily on in-kind donations for the materials and resources we use for our installations,” said Gard.  “And sometimes the projects the Club takes on are dictated by what materials been donated to the school.”

Student enrollment in the Club includes both 7th and 8th graders, and has included anywhere from 20 – 40 students.  Projects typically take 3 – 4 weeks to complete depending on the scale of the project, and each project teach students valuable lessons about personal responsibility for the time and care required to take care of their environment.  Though important life lessons, students are just happy to be outside during school hours, and proud to see the tangible results of their hard work.

"I signed up for the Landscaping Society because I can get dirty on purpose," said a 7th grade student.  "I also like to come to campus everyday and see how our club makes our campus more beautiful."