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Students help create orchards at Lompoc-area schools


About 30 fruit trees were planted at Lompoc-area elementary schools this week, thanks to collaboration between the schools and the Common Vision organization.

Representatives of Common Vision, a nonprofit group dedicated to creating and sustaining orchards at schools around the state, worked with students at Hapgood Elementary School on Tuesday to plant 10 trees on that campus.

On Wednesday, they joined with students at Manzanita Public Charter School to plant 20 trees there.

“We cherish the relationships that we’ve been building in Lompoc with the garden educators and teachers,” said Michael Flynn, executive co-director of Common Vision. “We had a fantastic time. The students at both Hapgood and Manzanita were engaged, cheerful, playful and a delight to work with.”

About 200 students were involved in the activities at each campus.

“It’s a big production and it’s pretty awesome,” said Abbi Marrs, a garden educator at Lompoc-area schools.

Common Vision has previously worked with students and teachers to plant fruit trees at Fillmore, Miguelito and La Honda elementary schools.

In addition to planting the trees, Common Vision workers return to each campus annually to check on the trees and prune them as well as maintain the irrigation systems, which they also install on a timed drip system.

In total, the organization has helped start orchards at more than 230 campuses from the Mexico border to the Bay Area and Sacramento.

“In addition to teaching them about how trees grow and the botany process, we also discuss issues such as climate change and carbon sequestration, and kids get an opportunity to understand hands-on how trees interact with soil to take atmospheric carbon and store it in the ground,” Flynn said.

“This really helps kids understand photosynthesis and underground interaction with roots, microorganisms and soil that serve as the backbone for creating organic-rich matter,” he added.

Flynn said the students’ work could have a lasting impact.

“What they came to own,” he said of the students, “is that they could share their energies with their classmates and their school and the students who will come to their school over the next century.”

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© 2003-2020 Common Vision