Symantec Corp. plants roots at Covington

Photo By: Courtesy of Vicki Moore
Photo Courtesy Of Vicki Moore

Volunteers from Symantec Corp. plant a tree in Covington School’s Native Habitat Garden.

Volunteers from Symantec Corp. descended on Covington School April 14 to plant more than 200 California native plants and install plant signs and irrigation for the school’s Living Classroom Native Habitat Garden.

Wielding shovels, pickaxes, wheelbarrows and posthole diggers, Symantec employees created a new outdoor learning place for Covington students.

“We are thrilled to be able to help make this special school garden a reality,” said Jaime Barclay, program manager of philanthropy and community relations at Symantec. “When we learned about the Los Altos Living Classroom Program and how students are learning so much from their garden-based lessons, we knew we had a special project.”

In addition to providing 30 volunteers, Symantec donated $5,000 to the Covington School PTA to cover the cost of the new garden and will contribute an additional $1,350 to match the volunteer hours contributed.

The garden features large boulders and a seating wall installed by Covington parent volunteers, as well as curving pathways and more than 40 species of native plants from five plant communities of California – chaparral, grasslands, oak woodlands, mixed evergreen forest and coastal sage scrub. Teachers will use Living Classroom lessons in the areas of ecology, habitats, pollination, ethnobotany and biodiversity, among others. Forty plant identification signs list the plants’ significance to wildlife and Native California Indian culture.

The new garden is the ninth Native Habitat Garden installed in a Los Altos School District school – one at each school in the district.

“Transforming this narrow garden space from generic shrubs to a beautiful and educational garden has been on our PTA project list for several years,” said Suzanne Kasso, Covington PTA vice chairwoman and garden manager for the Living Classroom Program. “We have learned that a school’s outdoor spaces can be used for learning and as an extension of the indoor classroom.”

Over the past 18 months, Covington School has added 15 raised planter boxes so that all classrooms can grow seasonal edibles for eating and Living Classroom lessons.

Those who provided additional support for the project include Samscaping Inc., a design and landscape contracting firm based in Mountain View; Summerwinds Nursery in Palo Alto and employee Judith Schwarz, who designed the garden and oversaw plant placement; Suncrest Nurseries in Watsonville; and Valley Crest Tree Co. in Sunol.

For more information on the Living Classroom Program, email Mike Sanderson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., call 947-1103 or visit

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