Playa Grande School learns about conservation through gardening

Community garden teaches conservation lessons

This year, we helped Playa Grande School create their own organic garden to learn more about local food systems, environmental and human health, and resource conservation.

Rising cost-of-living and changing land uses have changed consumption patterns. Most people now buy food produced far away. But community gardens are a great way to produce lettuce, basil, oregano, cilantro, scallions and other easy to grow crops to provide healthy food for local families and reduce household expenses.

Local Menu

After a visit to the La Paz School, the students of Playa Grande School were excited to start their own garden. We encouraged them to select crops that are not only suited to local ecological conditions but also part of a traditional Central American diet. Among other selections, they chose to plant basil, sunflowers, lettuce, beans and corn.

Students at Playa Grande School have learned that growing food organically can yield environmental and health benefits within the local community. The organic garden provides healthy food for students and their families without threatening fragile ecosystems.

Conservation Lessons

Working in an organic garden teaches students valuable lessons about environmental conservation. Gardening brings students in contact with nature. They learn about the food chain, the key role hummingbirds, bees and butterflies play in pollination, and how plants produce oxygen. The students see the importance of conservation on a personal level, recognizing that a productive garden requires healthy ecosystems with nutrient-rich soils, clean water and abundant pollinators.

Playa Grande School students visit La Paz School

La Paz students shared their stories and tips on creating an organic garden.

C. Diaz Chuquisengo 2014

C. Díaz Chuquisengo 2014

Gardening lessons

Students received training on how plants grow, the importance of organic production methods and stages for developing a successful garden.

Image by C. Diaz Chuquisengo 2014 (left) Elena Fernández 2014 (right)

A successful garden

Under the students' care, the plants have grown beautifully. Playa Grande School Principal, Yorleni Gallo, deemed the garden a great success!

Image by C. Díaz Chuquisengo 2014 (left) C. Díaz Chuquisengo 2014 (right)


The Playa Grande School organic garden was created with the support of The Leatherback Trust in coordination with Kids Club Playa Grande, the Playa Grande Elementary School and Las Baulas National Park. The students of Playa Grande School deserve special recognition for their leadership and Elena Fernández provided specialized knowledge. We are also grateful for contributions by Karalee Machum and Van Salcedo. This project's success is also due to the support of La Paz Community School, Mamasa Restaurant, Reserva Conchal, Instituto de Oceanología de Costa Rica, Las Ventanas de Playa Grande, and Playa Grande community members and parents.

Let's Keep On Growing

We plan to continue the organic garden at Playa Grande School in 2015 with the continued support of contributors mentioned above. We are also looking for additional support to increase the area and productivity of the garden. In this way, the project will enable the students to continue learning and enjoying the food they produce.