GreenWorks—Youth Mentoring Youth to Restore Paso Robles
For the past three years, Gregory Ellis has worked through the nonprofit One Cool Earth alongside the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District to develop outdoor classrooms at two schools. Funding from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, local foundations, and corporations has enabled the development of on-campus native gardens, a greenhouse, solar electric system vegetable beds, natural building demonstrations, composting, and a full-scale plant nursery enterprise. Students at both schools were involved in design, construction and ongoing programming of outdoor classrooms. The next phase in the master plan is to create a mentorship program where students at two high and middle schools mentor fourth grade classes from nearby elementary schools. Programming will teach resource conservation and ecology through the lens of fourth-grade California history, drawing on the region's rich Native American and Latino history. Students will be challenged to translate knowledge into leadership through personal action and school and community projects.