Summer Garden Schedule and Adopt-a-Garden

We just finished our last week of Spring Programs in School Gardens, which means that Summer Garden programs will be starting soon. Please come visit a school garden near you this summer – they are all open to the community on a weekly basis.

We are still in need of families to adopt gardens for a week this summer. Adopting a garden means that you help take care of it for a week – watering every few days (depending on temperatures), and harvesting what is ripe and ready to be picked. Gardening expertise or experience is not necessary! Once you have signed up we will review watering and harvesting with you before your scheduled week arrives.

There are so many different opportunities to volunteer or participate this summer – see the schedule above and contact if you need more information. All garden activities and programs are FREE.


We Are Hiring! Full-time Garden Coordinator

Job Announcement, November 2015

Garden Coordinator

Lower Columbia School Gardens

Lower Columbia School Gardens (LCSG) is a non-profit organization in Cowlitz County that helps schools start and sustain dynamic, thriving garden programs. LCSG has helped create and sustain 13 school gardens in Southwest Washington, and engages over 3,000 students each year in hands-on, garden based learning activities. Find out more on our website,

The Garden Coordinator facilitates a wide variety of hands-on learning for children in multiple school gardens by leading a wide variety of garden-based learning activities, including teaching garden and cooking lessons tied to curriculum standards. The Garden Coordinator promotes the LCSG mission with our partners, stakeholders and the general public. This is a full-time, 40 hour per week position with occasional evening and weekend hours.  We are seeking a kind, creative, energetic person who is passionate about real food, kids, plants, and soil.

Essential Functions:

  • Develop and facilitate garden-based lessons and activities for elementary and middle school children including cooking lessons, arts and crafts activities and lessons tied to curriculum standards
  • Recruit, coordinate and retain LCSG volunteers
  • Integrate garden-based curricula into existing educational settings
  • Create and share garden resources for teachers, children and garden volunteers such as planting guides, lesson plans and volunteer training resources
  • Promote LCSG through marketing, social media, community outreach, teacher and parent engagement
  • Coordinate LCSG events such as fundraisers, volunteer appreciation events, harvest festivals, produce sales, after-school garden clubs, community outreach and others
  • Participate in program evaluation and research
  • Collect and maintain data on volunteer and student participation and other metrics
  • Participate in fundraising and grant writing to support the on-going work of LCSG
  • Perform garden maintenance tasks—watering, weeding, mulching, soil and compost, cleaning and organizing garden classrooms, sheds and outdoor spaces
  • Maintain a working knowledge of significant developments and trends in the school garden field


  • High School diploma
  • Bachelor’s degree in relevant field preferred
  • 2 years in environmental education or children’s program development, or equivalent experience and skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop successful outdoor education programs, and facilitate hands-on learning and dynamic programming for elementary through middle school children
  • Strong interpersonal skills, leadership and teamwork
  • Excellent writing and communication skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Experience with volunteer management
  • Event planning and coordination experience
  • Flexible, and ability to thrive in a fast-paced, sometimes unpredictable setting
  • Proficiency with computers and basic software programs including google drive, Microsoft office
  • Experience working with diverse populations and across disciplines (parents, teachers, school garden staff, community members, students)
  • The ability to lift 25 lbs, operate garden tools (shovels, wheelbarrows, etc.), assist in construction (retaining walls, garden beds, trellises, sheds, etc.)
  • Willingness to work in an outdoor environment in a variety of weather conditions
  • Driver’s license and willingness to drive LCSG vehicles

Compensation: $12/hr.

Position is open until filled.

To apply for the position, please email a cover letter and resume to Ian Thompson, Executive Director for Lower Columbia School Gardens at

If you have questions, please contact Lauren Henricksen, or 360-414-5599 ext. 6434.

Download PDF:  Garden Coordinator Job Description

Trainings for School Garden Volunteers 9/11 and 9/12 – Register Now!

“Ultimately, it is volunteers who make it possible for kids to experience the school garden in a meaningful way.”  




Whether you are currently volunteering in a school garden or just starting to think about getting your hands dirty… this free training event is for you!   Learn simple, effective techniques and strategies for helping kids (and plants!) thrive.

We hope you can attend one of these two (identical) sessions:  
  • ​​Friday ​September 11, 9:00-noon​
  • ​Saturday September 12​, 9:00-noon​
Northlake Elementary
“Garden Lab” Room 26 (2nd​ portable)
2210 Olympia Way
Longview, WA 98632
We will work in the classroom as well as out in the garden – there will be plenty of hands-on learning! 
Topics include:
  • Why school gardens?IMG_8881
  • Garden activities and lessons
  • Starting seeds indoors and outside
  • Composting with kids
  • Cooking with kids
  • Garden safety
  • Group management strategies
  • Inquiry Based Learning
  • School Garden Resources
  • The Garden Coordinator
  • And more!

Enjoy learning and connecting with great people who have a shared passion for kids, gardens and good food.  Snacks provided.  ​Meet new garden rabbits Sam and Sorrel.​

This training is free!  All are welcome, even those outside Cowlitz County.   IMAG6937_20130501072210774            
To ​register, simply email
please specify which day works best for you.  
See you there!

Audubon partners with School Gardens

Willapa Hills Audubon supported local school gardens in an important way in the 2014-2015 year – they sponsored a garden AmeriCorps position for $5,000!  This allowed Lower Columbia School Gardens to increase our reach significantly, and connect hundreds more kids and families with real food and hands-on learning in school gardens.

2015-01-22 14.51.29



Willapa Hills also partnered with Lower Columbia School Gardens on a bird-box building event in January, when 28 Monticello Middle School students learned about birds and habitat, then assembled a cedar bird box to take home.  We see these kids as future advocates for a greener world because of these experiences – thank you Audubon!

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Sept. Healthy Child event featured school gardens

Kids teamed up with a local restaurant to provide the meal; heath agencies dished on school gardens, healthy eating at school and at home. If you weren’t able to attend the Healthy Child Growing Mind workshop at Northlake in September, check out the Daily News article with some great photos and back story on Lower Columbia School Gardens.

Mint Valley Plan Approved!

Did you know that Mint Valley has a Student Leadership Council?  This team of students, along with some VERY passionate and dedicated teachers and families, have helped plan the garden at Mint Valley Elementary.  Longview School District quickly approved the plan so we are cleared for takeoff!  As soon as some money comes in, construction will begin, starting with the fence.  We have applied for a few grants and are waiting to hear back.  This garden will be unique in that all the raised beds will be placed directly on existing pavement – no muddy feet makes for happy custodians!


A new garden at St Helens Elementary!

So much has happened in 2011!  It’s hard to believe it all took place in about 8 months.  Made possible by major grants from the Cowlitz Fund and Lowe’s, generous donations from local families and businesses, and LOTS of hard work by adults and kids alike.  Here are a few of my favorite St Helens moments:

Ryan's Tractor Service donated lots of time doing initial excavation and waterlines. Tim Alwine hauled 8 dump truck loads out of there! Remember what a soggy June it was?
Wayne Alexander and crew pour concrete donated by Knife River Concrete.













Neighborhood kids came out of the woodwork in the summer to help. Dr. Darin gives a lesson on proper hammer technique.
These volunteers put in A LOT of hours over the summer!


 Kyle and Mikail said “You HAVE to tell the other kids that we helped build this shed when school starts, because they’ll NEVER believe us!”



 Squaring up the shed floor with Parks and Rec Summer crew.

Working at recess - check out the kids outside the fence.... "No fair!"



Hardworking kids with volunteer Shawn Higgins


Planting... finally!


Mrs. Kiffe spreading the love.
Ms T and Alberto talking care of business.









A young garden, buzzing with activity!



Monticello Garden Update

Welcome to the Lower Columbia School Gardens blog!  First, raise your hand if you like the word “blog” ….. anyone?  No?  That’s what I thought.  Me neither. Sounds like cold oatmeal.   Anyway, here are a few photos of Monticello Garden Club kids planting the new area a few weeks ago.  They’ve been working hard all year to get to this point – they’ve spread yards and yards of gravel on curved paths, formed mounded beds, moved the greenhouse…. and now they’re doing the really exciting stuff!  Kids are now planting fruit trees, Japanese maples, blueberries, wild strawberries, lavender, and more.  This Thursday Nov 17 we’ll be harvesting potatoes and roasting them with olive oil, fresh herbs, onions…. stop by for a taste, 2:30 to 4:30.  500 free tulip bulbs are waiting to be planted too, so there’s lots of fun to be had.


That’s all for now!  We’ll take a break and be back at it in 2012!