A ground breaking ceremony for the Water Demonstration Garden is scheduled for Thursday, April 26, at Norco College. The garden will support college curricula in environmental science, botany, chemistry, and biology, as well as service learning and civic engagement. A community educational program, the project is part of both the College’s green and service learning initiatives.
“The garden will be utilized in a number of ways by faculty, students and the community,” said Dr. Debbie DiThomas, interim president of Norco College. Faculty and students will use the garden as an outdoor classroom; students will complete community service hours by conducting tours and presentations to local K-12 schools and community groups; and visitors can learn more about xeriscape gardening, composting, and irrigation by strolling through the garden.
The Water Demonstration Garden will be located in a high-traffic area next to the campus bookstore and adjacent to ample visitor parking. The garden will contain a compost demonstration site, a site that details drip irrigation, and plants will be labeled with an educational botanical placard that details the name, history, and uses of the plants.
College Vice President Diane Dieckmeyer worked to secure funding and support for the garden. “The project’s three main areas of focus support Norco College’s core commitment to environmental stewardship,” she stated. Expected outcomes of the project include a greener curriculum; an increased knowledge and utilization of native and drought-tolerant plants, composting, and irrigation by students and community members; a decrease in urban water consumption; and heightened civic engagement related to environmental concerns.
Project costs are estimated at $30,000, according to college officials. Funding and support for the project comes from the HMC Designing Futures Foundation, Western Municipal Water District, the Associated Students of Norco College, the Green Health Club, and Paradise Garden Center.