Planting the Seeds for a Greener Community

There was lots of planting, dirty fingernails, art work, veggies, cool technology and plenty of environmental education on hand.

But most of all, the inaugural Scripps Ranch Intergenerational Earth Day event featured 350 Innovation Academy Charter School students and dozens of older adults sharing laughs, creating friendships and learning ways they can help make San Diego County a greener community.

“This event is the front line and the cutting edge of taking care of the earth,” said Chuck Matthews, San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency deputy director. “This is current leaders working with future leaders.”

The older adults were paired with students to help them learn a variety of ways to conserve, recycle, reduce and reuse resources found in their everyday lives. Several community organizations hosted demonstrations at the event with hands-on activities on sustainability, energy efficiency, health and nutrition and water conservation.

The San Diego Master Gardeners Association had students sniff bags of compost to try and figure out what food product was used to make the fertilizer and showed them how composting reduces waste. Students also learned about rainwater collection and solar energy, tasted a kale salad, worked in the school’s garden, saw what a zero waste lunch would look like and were taught how to separate recyclables.

The County’s Live Well San Diego team helped kindergartener and first-grade students plant their own basil and learn about good nutrition and healthy eating.

A group of residents from Sunshine Care, an assisted living community for those with Alzheimer’s, dementia and memory issues were among the older adults participating with the students.  

Other non-profit organizations that hosted demonstrations and sponsors included I Love a Clean San Diego, PEAK Energy, H2Ome, Good Neighbor Gardens Urban Share Crop, the North County Intergenerational Council, Scripps Ranch 50 Plus, Scripps Ranch Civic Association, Green Hat Electronic Recycling, Preserve Products, Mission Federal Credit Union and the City of San Diego.

Beth Foster, program director at Innovations Academy, said it was great to see all the different groups come together to support one vision.

“Collaboration is key to the health and well-being of our students, neighbors and the environment,” she said.

Tom Christensen is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact