Brooks Pollinator Garden

Colleen with kids



Students Supporting Their Neighbors

One Garden at a Time

By Colleen Quirk – Lead ELAR teacher at CAST Med High School and Garden Club Sponsor



Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, students at CAST Med High School had a vision to create a beautiful, meditative outdoor space that would enhance not only the mental health of students on the campus but also the environment on the south side of San Antonio, which is the epicenter of a food desert. They were awarded a grant from the National Wildlife Federation to create a pollinator garden using native plants, including native milkweed, to assist the Monarch butterflies in migrating to Mexico. The school’s Monarch Pollinator Garden recently received an award from the National Wildlife Federation as a Certified Schoolyard Habitat.


The Monarch Pollinator Garden is just the beginning of the students’ ambitious plans for their campus. Another group of students is actively seeking a grant to initiate work on their community Medicinal Garden. As a campus with a medical focus, they took it upon themselves to study the health challenges faced by their community living in a food desert. Their goal is to bring fresh produce to their neighbors and offer educational sessions for their families. These students are not just creating an outdoor learning space, but they are also taking proactive steps to address community health issues, demonstrating their initiative and problem-solving skills.


Monarch butterfly


CAST Med is not your typical school. It’s a STEAM-focused magnet campus in the SAISD school system, where students are prepared for careers in the medical field. Here, learning is not confined to textbooks and classrooms. Students identify real issues in their community and conduct research to find practical solutions. Collaborating with the National Wildlife Federation and other community partners like The Nectar Bar, Gardenville, and Brooks City Base, they are creating an organic, native habitat that benefits not just the Monarchs but also provides a serene space for students and community members to unwind and rejuvenate. This unique learning approach at CAST Med fosters innovation and practical learning experiences for the students.


If you would like more information about supporting our Gardening initiatives or attendance at our innovative campus, please visit our website:


Digging the garden with kids


Purple flower





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