Trash Cans

Inspired Garden Created by Students & Tammy Bird

This post comes to you from Green Public Art

Recently I was invited to speak about my work to an Environmental Studies class at Carson High School. As one might expect, I think they taught me more then I them.

Over the past 6 years the students at the high school, under the guidance of Tammy Bird, have transformed a neglected lot on school grounds into a thriving educational garden. The project has been fully funded by small grants or donations. Organizations like Tree People donated over a hundred fruit trees to the neighborhood, many of which found homes in the Carson High School Garden. The organization has also hosted tree pruning events to teach the students how to maintain their orchard. Kellogg Garden Products has donated soil and organic fertilizer.

Tammy likes to operate under the radar which allows her a certain amount of freedom. She encourages the students to take ownership of the projects that take place in the garden. Some recent inventions include re-purposing discarded industrial materials (AC fans, trash cans, a tractor, many of which are found in their schools “graveyard”, a place adjacent to the garden where discarded materials remain until they are taken to the dump) into planters, functional wind machines, and a slow roast pit. Tammy and the students proudly showed off their newly installed windmill (the first in the neighborhood!), functional solar panels (recycled from CAL Trans) to circulate the pump in their micro-climate pond, composting bins, and plans for a green wall and mosaic art wall.

Thanks to maverick teachers like Tammy Bird a population of children in Los Angeles is being introduced to nature in a meaningful way. I am hopeful that there are more stories like this one out in our broken education system. **I failed to take any pictures during my tour (big fail!) but have included these which I found in a google search.


Rebecca Ansert, founder of Green Public Art, is an art consultant who specializes in artist solicitation, artist selection, and public art project management for both private and public agencies. She is a graduate of the master’s degree program in Public Art Studies at the University of Southern California and has a unique interest in how art can demonstrate green processes or utilize green design theories and techniques in LEED certified buildings.

Green Public Art is a Los Angeles-based consultancy that was founded in 2009 in an effort to advance the conversation of public art’s role in green building. The consultancy specializes in public art project development and management, artist solicitation and selection, creative community involvement and knowledge of LEED building requirements. Green Public Art also works with emerging and mid-career studio artists to demystify the public art process. The consultancy acts as a resource for artists to receive one-on-one consultation before, during, and after applying for a public art project.
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