Outdoor Learning & Landscapes

  • Goals:

    1. Reduce outdoor landscape water use by 20% by year 2020 through:
      • Upgrade irrigation systems and controllers California Friendly landscaping and climate appropriate planting Turf reduction and replacement Grey water system installation Rain capturing Landscape Maintenance training for all grounds maintenance staff Water use tracking and reporting Water conservation education

    2. Outdoor Learning & Engagement
      • School garden projects
      • Nature Explore Classrooms
      • Student outdoor learning program


    The Branching Out Tree Nursery:

    Branching Out Tree Nursery logo A learning Nursery at Santa Monica HS
    Founded in 2018, Branching Out Tree Nursery is the student maintained tree and plant learning nursery at Samohi that grows and care for the trees being planted throughout all phases of the 25-year Campus Plan. The nursery roots the students and the community within Samohi campus and future building projects for long-term engagement and school spirit. There are currently 85 trees, 20 saplings and various shrubs and vegetables thriving in the nursery. The nursery is used for student learning, focusing on climate appropriate and California native landscaping that will shape the campus environment. The day-day caretaking is performed by Santa Monica High School's Gardening club.

    Santa Monica High School students working at the Tree Nursery

    Irrigation Upgrades:

    Completed in June, 2019 the District upgraded nine Santa Monica school sites with Cal Sense Smart Irrigation Controllers to save a total of 768, 196 gallons per year. The district is currently working on installing a smart controller system upgrade for the Malibu school sites.
    Irrigation  upgrades and students conductin a water project in rain puccles

    Low-water landscaping Turf Replacement

    Santa Monica HS, John Adams Middle school and Lincoln middle school have all replaced turf with artificial turf. The projects dramatically reduce the amount of water needed for field irrigation. Spotlight: Lincoln Middle School's athletic field from grass to synthetic turf with cork infill. This project has resulted in an estimated annual water savings of 3,229,488 gallons per year. This project alone represents a 7% reduction from the District's 2017-18 water consumption baseline. The cork infill used for this project is an environmentally friendly alternative to rubber that is non-toxic to marine life, low-odor, and a renewable resource. Cork does not absorb heat the way other infill materials do, which further reduces the need for water to cool the field.

    Low-water Landscaping

    The district is committed replacing non-native and non-climate appropriate planting to reduce water use, encourage native fauna and support the native eco-system. The district underwent landscape audits that identified areas of improvement. All new buildings and construction projects adhere to designed climate appropriate and native landscapes.