The Surprising Nature Activity Both Girls and Boys Enjoy

This last Saturday, March 8, we had the great pleasure of participating in The Los Angeles Environmental Education Fair at The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. We got to take a short but invigorating hike through the Arboretum, sit in on a worm composting lesson, cuddle with adorable pups at the Pasadena Humane Society’s booth, and even see a gorgeous peacock strutting through the crowds. (We steered clear of the snake at the Wildlife Waystation, though!)

The best part, however, was having the chance to meet smart, passionate students from all over the county. The kids from Norwalk High School and Horace Mann were especially chatty, and we loved hearing about their volunteer adventures.

We learned that Norwalk supports a school environmental club called Millennium that identifies and explores ways technology and engineering can benefit Mother Nature. Pretty cool, right? Better still, the club members we met were freshmen girls whose bubbly enthusiasm was infectious. They told us about an Eco Rally they organized where they showed their schoolmates simple ways each of us can help protect the environment — things like making bird houses out of recycled materials, collecting trash at the beach, and gardening.

The girls said that gardening in particular was one of their favorite ways to support nature. As one club member, Samantha Bocanegra, put it, “You can make a difference. You take care of the plants, watch them grow and get healthy, and you know it’s because of you.”

Another treat was talking with Horace Mann middle schoolers who proved that boys can get just as excited about gardening — and even butterflies — as girls.

“[At Horace Mann] we took a patch of land, this ugly dirt area, and working with TreePeople and Elliott [Kuhn], we transformed it into a native butterfly garden. We planted it earlier this week, so we haven’t seen anything yet, but we’re hoping it will attract a lot of butterflies,” said 6th grader Ryan Biehl. “It’s been interesting learning that we can actually apply skills we’ve learned in other classes to this club. I like nature. It’s super cool.”

So do we, Ryan!

TreePeople works with secondary school students like Samantha and Ryan through our Youth Leadership Programs, which inspire, engage, and support them to take action in greening their schools and create lifelong environmental stewards.  For more information, contact Candice Russell at

By Victoria Loustalot

Victoria Loustalot comes to TreePeople by way of New York City, but she's a Californian at heart, having been born and raised in Sacramento, "the City of Trees."