Sustainable You! Camp 2017: Teaching Our Youth About Eco-Conscious Living

Sustainable Ventura News takes a trip to Sustainable You! Camp. The camp, held each summer at University of California Hansen Agricultural Research and Extension Center’s (HAREC) 4-H Sustainable You Camp teaches children ages 9-12 about what it means to be sustainable through fun activities based around the five major themes: Land, Water, Food, Air, and Energy.

Congratulations to the 2016-2017 Watershed Hero Award & Environmental Leadership Award Winners !

Congratulations to Juanamaria Elementary School, the 2016-2017 Watershed Hero Award Winner and to ATLAS Elementary School the 2016 – 2017 Environmental Leadership Award Winner!

These prestigious GREEN SCHOOL AWARDS (which honor schools for their outstanding sustainability and water wise efforts) will be presented on Monday, April 17th in front of City Council in honor of Earth Day!

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Green School Certificates-ATLAS

Pure Water Radio PODCAST: The City’s 2017 FREE Green School Programs – Sign your school up for one today!


Find out about the City’s FREE Green School Programs, arrange for one at YOUR SCHOOL today.  In this Pure Water Radio PODCAST City of Ventura Environmental Specialist Haili Matsukawa provides information on the Green School Programs for 2017.  Also visit,

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Have you entered your school for a Green School or Watershed Hero Award? Do so by March 31!

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In honor of Earth Day, The City of Ventura recognizes two schools for their outstanding sustainability and water wise efforts.  Environment Sustainability Division has partnered with Agromin Premium Soil Products to present Environmental Leadership Award. Ventura Water presents the Watershed Hero Award. To apply for this year’s Green School Awards, please complete the online application or written application by March 31, 2017. Winners will receive $500 and be recognized in front of the City Council! All public and private schools within the Ventura City limits are encouraged to apply. Find out more and ENTER, click here.

2014 Watershed Hero Award Winner: Loma Vista Elementary School


In recognition and support of local environmental efforts, on Monday, December 15, 2014, Ventura Mayor Cheryl Hetimann, on behalf of the City of Ventura’s Environmental Sustainability Division, Ventura Water, E.J. Harrison & Sons, and Agromin Premium Soil Products (Agromin), presented the 2014 Green School Award to Lincoln Elementary School, and the 2014 Watershed Hero Award to Loma Vista Elementary School.

The Watershed Hero Award was presented to Loma Vista Elementary for converting their school front entryway into a water wise Ocean Friendly Garden complete with a rainwater capture system, bioswales and drought tolerant California native plants.

“We’re so grateful for our ‘Watershed Hero Award,” said Marlene McMullen, Principal, Loma Vista Elementary School.  “Changing out the front area of our school with an Ocean Friendly Garden was truly a community effort.  We would also not have this gorgeous garden if it wasn’t for all the help and support of the many sponsors and supporters.

In early 2014, Loma Vista Elementary School was chosen as the recipients of Midtown Ventura Community Council’s 2014 Adopt-A-School Project.  The Midtown Ventura Community Council, a non-profit organization formed by citizens of Midtown Ventura in 1997 to help improve our community.

“We had an iconic 90-foot high diseased Monterey pine tree in our front yard that was dying,” said McMullen. “We really needed to remove it, but because the tree was the focal point of the school, we knew if it was removed, the children would miss it.  At the same time, the Midtown Ventura Community Council told us that we were chosen as their ‘Adopt-A-School Project for 2014.’  Everything just grew from there. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.  Working with the Council, it was decided that we’d do a comprehensive redesign and install a California Coastal Native and Ocean Friendly Garden that would be both water efficient in addition to being a special place that students and faculty could enjoy.”

Local landscape architect Brian Brodersen, designer of the OFG landscape for Will Rogers Elementary School, drew up plans for the Loma Vista redesign. Jesse Doty, Senior Project Manager for Clark Construction also volunteered his time, and contributed staff and equipment to help with the job.

Ojai Quarry’s Larry Mosler donated $2,000 worth of rock for the garden.  Surfrider Foundation and the City’s Ventura Water Department also donated staff and money for the purchase of native plants.  As part of the City’s Environmental Sustainability Division, every student has received a classroom presentation on waste reduction, water conservation and watershed pollution prevention.

Work on the garden began on May 17, 2014, and for seven full work days from May until September, students, parents, faculty, and community members removed turf, weeded, rototilled, graded the land, sheet mulched, placed rocks and boulders, hand-crafted benches, re-directed the rain downspout system into large bioswale gardens that slow the flow of water, allowing it to sink into the ground, and planted native plants.

“It really does take a village!” said McMullen.  “We had over 200 volunteers on the project,” said McMullen.  “In honor of everyone’s efforts and hard work, and to show our sincere appreciation for everything done on our school’s behalf, we plan to acknowledge all our donors and contributors with a special plaque that will be placed in the garden.”

Changing out their landscape for an Ocean Friendly Garden will allow for continued student education regarding sustainable gardens.  Additionally, the school anticipates a reduced water bill, as these gardens rely on rainwater, not potable drinking water.

“There’s a paradigm shift happening with how we need to think about our lawns and landscapes,” said City of Ventura Environmental Specialist Jill Santos. “The California drought has helped accelerate this shift, and for a sustainable future, we all need to do our part. Emphasis is being placed on thinking green with water wise gardens, capturing rain water from our roofs in rain barrels, and appropriately placing bioswales in our landscapes to capture rain water, allowing it to flow and sink in to our landscapes vs. running off into the street where it picks up a variety of pollutants which get carried into our oceans and rivers.

Kudos to the school district, Midtown Council and to Loma Vista Elementary School, for providing this amazing opportunity for Ventura students and their families to learn about the importance of implementing these sustainable, water-saving initiatives.”

Maryann Ridini Spencer for SustainableVentura.TV

Watershed Hero Award 2013 Goes to Will Rogers Elementary School

LtoR: Teachers Daniel Flores and Ricardo Pinedo, Will Rogers Elementary School Principal Danielle Cortes, teacher Kris Guzman and Ventura Water GM Shana Epstein.

LtoR: Teachers Daniel Flores and Ricardo Pinedo, Will Rogers Elementary School Principal Danielle Cortes, teacher Kris Guzman and Ventura Water GM Shana Epstein.

On November 18, 2013, in a special ceremony before the Ventura City Council and coinciding with the presentation of the 2013 Green School Award to EP Foster Elementary School for spearheading efforts for the first full-scale recycling and food waste diversion program within the Ventura Unified School District, Ventura Water’s General Manager Shana Epstein and Mayor Mike Tracy presented Will Rogers Elementary School with the NEW Watershed Hero Award for creating wildlife habitats on their campus and reducing stormwater flows with the installation of a new bioswale.  Watch the “Sustainable Ventura News” video about Will Rogers Elementary School’s environmental programs.
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