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Hedge in our Garden

Impact Area: Conservation, Health and Wellness, Social Equity
Region: West

Help us complete Veterans Oasis Park demonstration garden for our community by building a fence!

$925 Raised out of $9,000
22 Donors
0 Days Remaining

About this project.

The City of Chandler Environmental Education Center (EEC) at Veterans Oasis Park is getting a demonstration garden—an amenity that will teach the community a variety of horticultural principles and practices. While we have secured funding for most of the garden, we still need funding for a fence to protect the garden from unwanted guests (like rodents!).

The funds raised here will help us purchase a powder coated, galvanized steel fence to surround the 6,480 square foot demonstration garden.

When the EEC was constructed in spring 2008, a demonstration garden was on the list of amenities to eventually be added, and after eight years of operation, this goal is starting to become a reality. The demonstration garden will provide a variety of opportunities for City staff to provide educational programs and environmentally appropriate gardening activities such as botany, gardening, sustainability, water harvesting, composting and entomology. When children (and people of all ages) have the opportunity to learn hands-on, it increases their literacy and interest with nature while enhancing their social skills.

The first phase of the project was to purchase and install a pavilion, which will provide an informal, covered classroom and storage space to accommodate small group demonstrations and educational sessions. With year-end savings this past year, we were able to purchase the pavilion and plan to install it this October.

The Fund Your Park program will help in the implementation of the second phase of the project, which is the purchase of the garden's fence.

The third and final phase of the demonstration garden will be programming it for the benefit of our entire community! The demonstration garden will provide opportunities for over 12,000 users annually through the offering of field trips, camps, workshops, exhibits, classes, events, programs and live demonstrations.

The City of Chandler Environmental Education Center (EEC) at Veterans Oasis Park (VOP) serves as a gateway to the 113-acre Sonoran Desert landscape. The EEC offers a variety of programming for all ages that engage guests with the natural world, the environment of the Sonoran Desert, and sustainability through art, science, fitness and outdoorsmanship.

How will this impact your community?

Since people have been on Earth, there has been a relationship between humans and plants. The earliest gardens were grown for practical reasons; people grew herbs or vegetables to live. As humans became more civilized, gardens evolved to classify the rich and were viewed as art through the selection and arrangement of the plants. In more recent years gardens have served as a foundation for scientific inquiry. The demonstration garden at VOP will embrace the past, present, and future of community gardens while providing environmental, educational, and social benefits of gardening to the community.

Today, growing your own food is not as practical as in the past because there are more accessible solutions to acquiring food. Over time, barriers have been created which have limited the preservation of gardening techniques. The Environmental Education Center is a trusted and established resource for education on the natural world, the environment of the Sonoran Desert, and sustainability. The demonstration garden will be a natural extension of the programs, amenities, and resources already available to the community through the EEC. The demonstration garden will allow the EEC to enhance the programs already offered, and through hands-on opportunities, provide the ability for users to apply the techniques they are learning about. Providing hands-on opportunities will empower users to bring home what they have learned and share it with their family, friends, and neighbors.

The educational impact the demonstration garden will have on park users will be achieved through the many programs that will be implemented within the space. The EEC’s Environmental Education Explorations, which are field trips for schools and groups that support the Academic Standards set by the Arizona State Board of Education, teaches students about the plant cycle, pollination, and photosynthesis. With the construction of the demonstration garden, staff will be able to offer more activities related to botany, agriculture, entomology and permaculture. The garden will be incorporated into the annual Earth Day Celebration, Butterfly and Dragonfly Bash, and Scout Jamboree through a variety of activities. Leisure classes, which are programs and services offered to the public that provide an opportunity for participants to enhance individual skill levels and knowledge, will provide specific information about gardening such as planting seasons, harvesting, and cultivating. Through collaboration with other organizations, more topics specific to the community will be offered, such as irrigation control, maintenance, water harvesting, and composting. The EEC’s Nature Camps, which allow 6-12 years old to explore the natural world around them, will provide participants the opportunity to construct, attend to, and harvest their own plants.

The most exciting part of this project is how the environmental and educational benefits will produce their own social benefits to users. While students determine the best seeds to plant for fall, they will also be developing their problem solving skills, and as they prepare the plots by turning the soil for the upcoming season, they will work on team building skills and getting exercise. During field trips that support the academic standards required for students to pass grade levels, students who are learning about the plant cycle or photosynthesis will get to explore and experiment with live plant samples, a significant improvement over just textbooks and pictures. Finally, working in the garden can help participants develop confidence and understanding of their abilities, which can lead to involvement in other opportunities. 

About us!

Veterans Oasis Park is 113 acres; 78 acres for recharge basins and wetlands, 31 acres for park and EEC, and four acres for police substation. The park land was originally purchased by the City of Chandler’s Municipal Utilities Department to create an area that can store treated waste water. The Municipal Utilities Department invited Community Services Department and Police Department to join the project. The Police Department wanted to build a sub-station in the south part of Chandler for faster response times to calls in that area and the Community Services Department wanted to build a park and the Environmental Education Center. The city’s Airport Water Reclamation Facility provides a supply of treated wastewater for distribution to one of five recharge basins in the east area of the park. The treated water soaks into the ground and recharges the water supply and in turn provides an opportunity to develop riparian and wetland habitat for educational purposes and to attract wildlife. The City will provide a wide variety of classes and programs at the new Environmental Education. The park also provides a wide range of recreational opportunities with a Community Fishing Lake, picnic pavilions, open play area and several miles of walking trails. The Environmental Education Center is part of an organization that is committed to serving its participants through teamwork, understanding, and dedication. We achieve success through the sharing of resources and experiences possessed by our employees. The City of Chandler Parks Division has built and maintained more than 65 community, regional, aquatic, and special use parks. The Recreation Division operates and programs activities year-round at the Environmental Education Center and other recreation facilities.


The installation of the pavilion is scheduled to be completed by September 2016. Material is currently available for the construction of 10 garden beds by a local scout and is slated to be completed by October 2016. If the funds are received by October 20, 2016, staff would refer to our Design Guidelines and Construction Manual provided by EPG, and purchase the fencing material suggested by early November 2016. The installation is anticipated to take 20 staff/volunteer hours, which will be divided into four consecutive Saturdays. This would allow completion of the fence to occur sometime between mid-December 2016 – January 2017.

Dexter Belling
Recreaiton Coordinator I
Daniella Rodriquez
Recreation Coordinator I
Ariane Francis
Recreation Coordinator II

About Dexter Belling

Dexter holds a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation Managements from Eastern Washington University. His recent work as an adventure guide has given him excellent experience in providing education about backpacking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, outdoor living, service projects, and more. City of Chandler Recreation Division Environmental Education Center at Veterans Oasis Park Direct: (480) 782-2895 Fax: (480) 782-2888 Main: (480)782-2890. dexter.belling@chandleraz.gov

About Daniella Rodriquez

Daniella holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Science from Arizona State University. During her career, Daniella has also worked as a research assistant for Arizona State University, where she conducted studies on Drosophila melongaster, a species of flies, and Scoloperus tristicus, a southwestern species of small, spiny lizards. She currently oversees classes, programs, and events at the Environmental Education Center. City of Chandler Recreation Division Environmental Education Center at Veterans Oasis Park Direct: (480) 782-2894 Fax: (480) 782-2888 Main: (480)782-2890. daniella.rodriguez@chandleraz.gov

About Ariane Francis

Ariane holds a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management & Sociology from Arizona State University. She has 16 years of experience planning and implementing of programs as a professional in the recreation field. She has supervised, planned, and conducted recreational activities for youth at Jr. High Schools, recreation centers, and camps. Most recently, she graduated from the Master Gardener program offered by the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Science. Throughout her certification she acquired research based information on environmentally responsible gardening and landscaping projects. All of these skills and achievements will attribute to the success of creating a demonstration garden.

September 19, 2016 - Ground Breaking

It’s official! Ground breaking for the installation of the pavilion, which will provide an informal, covered classroom and storage space to accommodate small group demonstrations and educational sessions, is scheduled for October 10.

August 27, 2016 - Garden Bed Construction

Tyson McOmber and Troop #877 constructed garden beds that will be used for planting vegetables.

August 26, 2016 - Three's a crowd!

Three’s a crowd! We’re so excited to have the support of our first three donors. Thank you so much for your help.