RSF Garden Club awards $50,000 in grants

RANCHO SANTA FE — From a total of 27 proposals, the Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club ultimately awarded 12 recipients a combined total of $50,000 in grants at its annual meeting on May 24 at the Garden Club building. The grant focus promotes the club’s initiatives by further cultivating charitable horticulture and charitable conservation activities within the Ranch and its surrounding communities.

To date, the RSF Garden Club has awarded grants for three consecutive years. According to Executive Director Shelly Breneman, the RSF Garden Club Grant Committee worked diligently in screening the applications and performing site visits.

During the annual meeting, one by one, the chosen organizations gave short presentations to members and guests about their proposals that netted the attention of the Garden Club Grant Program.

The Friends of San Pasqual Academy was awarded $10,000 so that it may create a “Serenity Garden” for its foster teens. A portion of the monies will also go toward the school’s agriculture program.

The Rancho Santa Fe Association’s Osuna Adobe was gifted $10,000 to continue its focus on the planting of drought-tolerant plants. The Association’s field operations manager, Arnold Keene, explained how the monies would also be filtered to expand the trail system for visitors and guests.

Conversely, the Association’s Arroyo property received $7,300. Both Keene and his associate Caitlin Kreutz shared that a portion of the funds would serve to help create a demonstration garden of native shrubs and trees for visitors at the campground entrance. A portion of the monies will also be used to plant water-wise and native plants at Arroyo with helpful and educational signage. They noted that the transformation would create a more engaging atmosphere.

The executive director of the Escondido’s San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, Javier Guerrero, thanked the board for its generosity. Guerrero said the $7,300 grant would fund the improvement and maintenance of the museum’s exhibits while also promoting the expansion of its daily gardening programs for the kids.

Ecolife was awarded a $3,500 gift of 10 Aquaponic Kits to 10 schools located in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

A list of elementary schools receiving grants to cultivate their own gardens included Hope Elementary for $4,500, Aviara Oaks Elementary for $3,000, RSF Foundation/R. Roger Rowe Elementary for $2,000, Buena Vista Elementary for $1,822, Park Dale Elementary for $1,475, and Carmel Creek Elementary for $1,000.

The last to provide its presentation was San Elijo Conservancy, which will be using its $832 grant to finalize its Butterfly and Pollinator Educational Amphitheater with the help of R. Roger Rowe students.

The next round of grant proposals is slated for February 2018.

Other business matters at the meeting included special recognition to the Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club’s outgoing board members Jack Queen, James Boyce and Vearl Smith. Voted into those board seats are Adrienne Falzon, Ann Vulsteke and Skip Atkins.

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