Gardening Festival gives Poly students access to mental health tools and information • Long Beach Post News

When special education teacher Indira C. Jimenez and her students created an outdoor garden and mural at Poly High School, they envisioned a place of safety for students with different sensory needs, and last month they were able to showcase their creation during the school district’s annual Long Beach Unified Wellness Week.

Jimenez and his students organized their first gardening and butterfly festival with the help of Poly teachers and local businesses who all donated time and equipment so that students who attended could receive free gardening supplies, tips and more.

Everything at the Gardening and Butterfly Festival was donated by local businesses such as Golden Garden, Lakewood Nursery, Plantiitas, Artemisia Nursery, All Time Plants, Allen’s Flower’s and more. Photo courtesy of Indira C. Jimenez.

“I thought it would be cool if I could throw a festival for college students to make them aware that gardening can help with depression, anxiety, and mental health issues they don’t even know about. “said Jimenez.

Jimenez was able to find 10 poly teachers to help his students put up information boards on indoor gardening, native plants, butterflies, compost and other gardening topics.

“A lot of our kids don’t have backyards or frontyards because they live in apartments,” Jimenez said. “So I was thinking about gardening opportunities within their own budget and their own home environment.”

The new mural in the campus garden area is titled “The Tree of Life” and was funded by donations. Photo courtesy of Indira C. Jimenez.

Long Beach Recycles, Long Beach Water and other local organizations also had tables at the event alongside local nurseries including All Time Plants and Artemisia Nursery. Both are also owned by Poly alums.

Jimenez said the plan is to hold another Gardening and Butterfly Festival next year.

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