Topanga Elementary Receives Award

California Goldenrod is a showy native pollinator plant that doesn’t share its eastern cousin’s reputation as an aldlergen. (Solidago velutina ssp. Californica) Photos courtesy of California Native Plant Society (

On June 21, the Science Committee of  Topanga Elementary Charter School (TECS) received good news.

The school was one of six schools in Southern California (out of 40 applications) to be awarded the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation Monarch and Pollinator Habitat Award. The award, not monetary, is a plant kit to help protect and restore habitat, a crucial step in the conservation of western monarchs and native pollinators. 

Each kit is geographically specific and includes 1,600 perennial transplants raised at Hedgerow Farms in Winters, California. 

 This fall, the school’s children, parents, and local volunteers will integrate these monarch plants into three existing native habitat gardens, the Butterfly Hillside Garden, the Girl Scouts Native Garden, and the Fifth Grade Legacy Project Restoration Garden, as well as in the meadow within the campus’ five acres of oak woodlands. 

California or Pacific Aster (Symphyotrichum chilense) is a tough and beautiful native plant that provides nectar for a wide range of pollinators. It’s one of the plants selected especially for Topanga Elementary’s specific habitat area.

Since the school is within five miles of the coast as the monarch flies, the kit includes the following plant types: Black Sage (Salvia mellifera), California Goldenrod (Solidago velutina ssp. Californica), California or Pacific Aster (Symphyotrichum chilense), and Western Verbena or Vervain (Verbena lasiostachys). 

Receipt of this award further distinguishes Topanga’s local public school as a leader in environmental conservation and stewardship.n 

For more information and to volunteer, please contact Alisa Land Hill, MD, Science Committee president, TECS:


By Alisa Land Hill


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