2023 Nov 15 Meeting – School Gardens


Native Gardens in two Orange County Schools

– Challenges and Rewards –


Tony Tubbs, Tesoro High School in Las Floras

Stacie Aguesse, Santiago STEAM Magnet Elementary


Monthly Meeting – November 15 Wednesday

Presentations begin at 7:30pm, Doors Open 7:00pm

Location: Murray Community Center, 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo

Or register to watch via Zoom: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIpc-GtrT8tEtSx4sWWVy-iEukJAi-juBX_



Join us as two strong school leaders relate their experiences in creating two very different California native gardens. See how multiple challenges, including those that thought the gardens could not be done, were overcome by inspired leadership, creative thinking, and hard work. Now both have rewarding gardens that help teach youth about the basic building block of our natural environment-Our native plants.


Santiago STEAM Magnet Elementary

Stacie Aguesse will share the high points of the journey from Zero to becoming a 2023 U.S. Green Ribbon School. Some of the challenges include the “it’s impossible” myth and very difficult soils. Benefits have been countless, including curriculum enhancement, mental health/social benefits, and environmental literacy.

Stacie Aguesse

Stacie is an advocate for sustainable schools and leads the Outdoor Learning initiatives at Santiago STEAM Magnet Elementary where she hosts numerous outreach events, the School Garden Club, the STEAM GREEN Team, and Community Building Days. Stacie has lived on 3 continents and is a UCANR Master Composter. Principle Johnston described Aguesse as “the heart and soul of our vision and our mission”. No wonder Santiago STEAM is a 2023 California Green Achiever and U.S. Green Ribbon School.



Tesoro High School in Las Flores

In the Fall of 2014, spurred on by the non-native weeds and grasses surrounding the campus, Tony Tubbs and his students decided to embark on a native plant restoration effort. Their goal was not only to increase biodiversity, but also to educate others about the value and importance of planting natives. Tony will walk the audience through the Tesoro’s efforts in transforming that surrounding area into the multiple gardens and trails that students and community members enjoy today. Tony will highlight both the challenges and rewards that have come about during this ongoing project.

Tony Tubbs

Tony is the Biology and Environmental Field Studies teacher and also the Faculty Advisor for the Ecology Club of Tesoro High School in Las Flores. Tony has lived all of his 57 years in California and has been a high school teacher for 33 years. Tony loves to get as many people as possible involved in Tesoro’s restoration efforts. Biology students, sports teams, school clubs, feeder school students, scouts, and community members have all lent a hand in constructing Tesoro’s California Native Plant Garden, Nature Trail, and Sustainability Garden.