Center for Community Engagement

Dominguez Hills: Green Thumbs in Action

Dominguez Hills

Some of the first words of greeting that Earth Sciences Professor Judy King receives from Biogeography students are: "Have you seen the garden today?"; "Did you notice how much the Sycamore has grown?"; "Those Monkey Flowers are blooming like crazy!"; "The Pitcher Sage is drooping." With funding from an ECO LED grant made possible by Edison International, 26 students joined forces to plan a garden, learn the scientific and common names of their plants, dig, add amendment, dig some more, learn to plant carefully, spread wood chips, build a path, and water diligently.

The service-learning course Biogeography of Southern California has garnered much interest from the CSU Dominguez Hills community, receiving assistance from other earth science classes, the Earth Science Club, and even anthropology students who were just as enthusiastic as earth and environment majors.

Beyond planting a native plant garden, students learned the part each plant plays in its natural southern California ecosystem, including any uses made by Native Americans. The course curriculum includes lectures on common ecosystems (e.g. chaparral, coastal sage scrub) followed up by field trips to these same systems. In the field, students may touch, smell, and see the concepts they have learned from lectures. Their learning is further heightened by seeing their own native garden plants in the wild and understanding each plant's contribution to its native habitat.

These students have become more committed to environmental science because of this course. Over the semester, they have evolved into practicing ecologists, able to critically evaluate the health of an ecosystem while out in the field. Most participants would like to continue in the environmental science fields as Resource Managers, Park Rangers, Environmental Consultants as well as continuing on to graduate school.

As an example of their commitment to the garden and their interest in the field, students hosted a booth at Earth Day to promote the Native Plant Garden. They designed two beautiful banners, decorated their booth, sold wildflower seeds and connected with many members of the campus community. Students took interested members of the campus and greater community on guided tours of the garden throughout the day and exemplified outstanding leadership and organizational skills.

*Home Depot also made a donation of materials and the plants were donated from the UCLA Institute of the Environment.

Find out more about service learning and community engagement at CSU Dominguez Hills.

View campus service-learning projects involving the ecosystem:
CSU Channel Islands
Channel Islands

One year after the devastation that came from the massive earthquake off the coast of Sendai, 15 CSU Channel Islands students enrolled in Science and Technology in Japan traveled to Japan to volunteer in the rebuilding efforts during their spring break.

CSU Dominguez Hills
CSU Dominguez Hills

Some of the first words of greeting that Earth Sciences Professor Judy King receives from Biogeography students are: "Have you seen the garden today?"; "Did you notice how much the Sycamore has grown?"; "Those Monkey Flowers are blooming like crazy!" With funding from an ECO LED grant made possible by Edison International, 26 students joined forces to plan a garden, learn the scientific and common names of their plants, dig, add amendment, dig some more, learn to plant carefully, spread wood chips, build a path, and water diligently.

CSU Fresno
CSU Fresno

Students in Dr. Steve Blumenshine's aquatic ecology course work with a variety of community partners on issues of water quality and habitat restoration, including fish sampling, water testing, river restoration efforts and teaching aquatic ecology modules in local classrooms.

Humboldt State University
Humboldt State University

In Dr. Matthew Johnson's Upland Habitat Ecology course, students learn about the process of research by being exposed to real issues impacting their community and sharing their findings and recommendations with local planners and city officials.

Cal Maritime
Cal Maritime

Volunteer work aboard historic vessels in the San Francisco Bay is a tradition at California Maritime Academy. Robbie Jackson, instructor of Marine Engineering Technology, saw a need to spread the word among campus cadets to get involved by offering a Historic Ship Preservation service-learning course.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

The students of Engineers Without Borders USA-Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (EWB-Cal Poly) are creating change domestically and abroad. In the summer of 2011, students worked with villagers in Sainji, India to create an economical and user-friendly corn de-kerneler to help ease the physical stress of their manual method.