Success Stories: Serving Underserved Communities & Schools in the San Diego Region

At the core of Solana Center’s mission is education. Teaching our community about soil, waste, and water is one of the key tools in making real, lasting, positive changes for our environment. We believe that education, innovation, and action are required to address the environmental challenges in our region and know that with each child and/or adult that we can reach with innovative environmental education, there is one more advocate for environmental change in our region and world.  

Our work with thousands of children throughout San Diego County builds upon their natural hopefulness and curiosity in the natural world. Because school funding typically prioritizes other pressing educational and social needs, environmental curriculum is often limited in low-income schools. Knowing that environmental education can actually be more important in these underserved communities, our team continues to seek partners to provide this service throughout the region.

Students learn the importance of a closed-loop system that manages waste responsibly.

Solana Center is grateful for the support of Qualcomm and SDG&E who provided separate grants in support of environmental education around food waste prevention and composting through the 4 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot, as well as the importance of native plants and pollinators for schools and community organizations that would not otherwise be able to afford it. 

With Qualcomm’s generous funding, our environmental educators provided a full school day of environmental education at 15 underserved schools (about 4,000 students) in the San Diego area. This included free hours of bilingual environmental education for multiple grade levels via assembly, in-class education, or field trips to our Climate Solutions Resource Center, as well as a worm composting bin and our help with setting it up at their school with the students.

With SDG&E’s generous support, Solana Center was able to prioritize local Native American tribes including both youths and adults through outreach booths, educational presentations, and environmental demonstrations/materials.

If the 630 people Solana Center & SDG&E reached in year one of our partnership all reduce their food waste by just 10%, they will have diverted over 15,000 pounds of food waste from the landfill in just one year!

Since food waste prevention is also food preservation for struggling families, our education around food waste helps conserve financial resources and food for families while also mitigating upstream and downstream waste impacts that contribute to climate change.

We know from experience that this environmental education helps turn students into environmental advocates, creating a ripple effect of shared knowledge and behavior change that begins with the students and impacts their families and their communities. This is the starting point for making real environmental change in our community. 

Students learning about the magic of composting worms!

Help Fuel our Environmental Innovation

Donations from visionary companies and individuals help power Solana Center’s create innovative research projects, environmental solutions, and models that have impacts nationwide. These ground-breaking projects can show the depth of your organization’s environmental dedication. Contact to find out more, or make a donation today.