School Garden Learning Center

With the help of a major Vista Neighborhood grant from the City of Boise Neighborhood Reinvestment Grant program, Hawthorne Elementary School has been able to turn nearly a half acre of unused and expensive grass space on the north and east sides of the school with the revolutionary and innovative Idaho Native Plants Learning Landscape & Teaching Garden, scheduled for completion in December 2017. In it, you will find several themed areas in the garden including an Artists Garden, Sensory Garden, Pollinator Garden, Experimental and Creative Area, and a sandstone amphitheater Classroom Space.

Watercolor Map

Hawthorne Elementary School’s natural and creative landscape will foster an exploratory and inquisitive environment for our students and neighbors. We hope to encourage place-based learning by providing a landscape that features native plants, their pollinators, examples of regional geology, and opportunities for hands-on applied learning. In this way, we are able to enhance the curriculum by connecting it to the natural world. We are also preparing students to be engaged citizens on a local and global scale. There is a strong correlation between whether people have nature experiences as they grow up and whether, as adults, they will be concerned about policies that affect our environment.

 Volunteers enjoying a cool lemonade

So many thanks to our community partners and grantors, including:

City of Boise, Vista Neighborhood Association, Boise Schools, Dennis Professional Technical Education Center, ERIG Native Plants Society, Idaho Botanical Gardens, Idaho Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Hawthorne Elementary School Garden Committee, Hawthorne Elementary School PTO, Draggin’ Wing Farm, Stephanie Inman Design, and special thanks to Holly Hovis, Botanist, BLM, and Amy Pence-Brown, School Garden Coordinator

Phase 1 (August 2014-April 2016):

Planning, surveys, grants written, education, study, examination, site visits, creation, local experts identified, etc.

Phase 2 (Summer & Fall 2016):

Tearing up grass, installing watering system, building sandstone outdoor amphitheater, round one of native plants in ground, creating crushed stone pathways

Phase 3 (Spring, Summer & Fall 2017):

Round two of native plants in the ground, raised planter boxes installed, public artwork and signage installed, additional elements completed

Volunteer planting in the garden


The Hawthorne School Garden Committee consists of parents, teachers, students, local experts and administrators and welcome volunteers. If interested or if you have further questions, please contact the school at (208)854-5000.