Irma Patricia Espinoza Magaña and friends at the community garden

Irma Patricia Espinoza Magaña, Eduación Ambiental para Todxs/ Environmental Education for All

With limited financial resources, budget cuts in education, and the lack of dedicated volunteers,  environmental educational programs in Mexico are scarce. Garden based learning programs are very difficult to start and operate, and its an even tougher task to get schools interested and involved in working to using garden space for learning purposes.

In the neighborhood of Santa Margarita, in the city of Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico, four passionate women are working to change their streets and schools by inspiring youth to protect and care for the environment. After 3 years of volunteering with the Teocintle Agro-ecological Collective, which manages the only community garden in their community, nutritionist Cynthia, teacher Liz and environmental managers Ana and Patricia came together to create The Environmental Education Project For All, a program targeted to reach elementary schools surrounding the urban garden.

The first stage of the project involves introducing various topics to educate children at the Niños Heroes School on the current environmental problems. For six months they will run a weekly one-hour class with the students using the community garden as a tool to teach environmental stewardship. Students will be introduced to concepts such as recycle, reduce, and reuse, and learn how to separate waste and how to build compost. Throughout the program, assessments of the school will be conducted to identify the actions that generate a negative environmental impact, with the goal of establishing an environmental management system to improve the school’s ability to implement effective, sustainable, environmental changes.

Youth Environmental Grantmaking team member Selene Carillo hopes that this flow fund will deepen the connection of young people to established institutions such as the community garden. By strengthening these bonds and demonstrating the value of community involvement, this work will help show young people the power that they have to shape the impact of their community on the environment, and is contributing to new generation of youth leaders who recognize that it is essential to incorporate environmental concerns into every aspect of our personal and professional lives.