Temecula Valley HS program hopes to reverse climate change by rebuilding the Earth
“We want to make sure that students in this agricultural project will understand irrigation systems that will help with water conservation, and then also look for ways to build our soil and create healthy ecosystems with the plants we grow” , Meghan said. Manion, literacy specialist and garden coordinator at the Temecula Valley School District.
Due to the prevalence of the wine industry in Temecula, the plan is to start a small vineyard on two acres of school property, as well as several olive trees, before eventually expanding with various crops on the 10-acre hill overlooking the school baseball field.
“It’s an approach that rebuilds the whole system,” said Greg Pennyroyal, vineyard manager for Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards. “I was stunned when the students, alone, came together and said, ‘This is the path we want to take. We don’t have a lot of resources. Let’s create a club and seek help. “”
Part of this assistance came from a grant from the Pechanga Indian Band.
Seed money to “cultivate the next generation of winemakers and farmers” for the Temecula Valley is an important part of the tribe’s culture.
“The ability to share this culture and see this and see the excitement, we are extremely proud to be a part of it and to be able to contribute in any way we can to our community,” said Jared Munoa, board member of administration of the Pechanga Development Company.
More than a dozen high school students took soil samples and studied topographic maps of the hill where they will soon learn to farm.
“They just have brilliant open minds,” Pennyroyal said. “The questions they ask and the insights they have are inspiring, but the other thing is I don’t want them to have to unlearn so much to learn what really works.”
There are schools across the country with similar programs, but this is the first of its kind in Temecula and the kids involved believe it could be adapted to any farming community.
“There are a lot of different towns that have things that they grow locally,” TVHS Junior Nicole Nay said. “We wouldn’t say to someone from a different climate, ‘Oh, grow grapes,’ when it’s for our climate. Maybe they’re planting wheat. Maybe they’re planting wheat. corn. That could be something for their school because that’s what their city does.”
A school component is included in the program, which could be important for a region known for its agriculture.
The hope is that a professional technical education pathway will be created, giving students a head start in a field that does not always have a clear path to success.
“If I went to college and started doing it and realized, ‘Oh, I hate that,’ then that would have been a waste of time,” junior Kyle Riley said. “But now I’ve started doing it and I’m learning about it, and I know I like it so I know I can keep going and keep chasing it.”
Manion hopes the project will bear fruit in the long term.
“I think it has been difficult for a while to have a stable team in some vineyards, so I hope that with our project, we will prepare and prepare the students and keep some of our students in our valley”, she said.
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