The New Children’s Museum Received Grant to Launch New Inclusive Garden Project

| April 30, 2023 | 0 Comments

The New Children’s Museum (NCM) has received an Environmental Champion grant from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to support the Barona Student Native Plant Garden Project, called ‘Iipay Nyechewuuw. In partnership with Barona Indian Charter School and Barona Cultural Center & Museum, NCM will be able to revitalize and activate its Garden Studio, located in Children’s Museum Park across from the Museum. Inspired by the Charter School’s Native Plant Garden and the Native Plant Seed Library installed at Barona Cultural Center & Museum in partnership with the San Diego Audubon Society, Barona Indian Charter School students will design and plant a garden at NCM to showcase their heritage. They will use this opportunity to share with downtown San Diegans and visitors how plants can be used as tools, food, and medicine. NCM will create programming around the Garden, fostering climate literacy and environmental education—and furthering NCM’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Belonging commitment.

‘Iipay Nyechewuuw at NCM integrates climate literacy and urban greening. As a part of their Culture Class Heritage Project with Barona Cultural Center & Museum, eighth graders will plant raised beds of native plants—those traditionally used for food, tools, and medicine by the Kumeyaay People. Multilingual signage will list plant names in the Kumeyaay People’s ‘Iipay Aa language, English and Spanish, with scientific names in Latin. QR codes will provide ethnobotanical descriptions and museum programming will integrate climate literacy.

NCM occupies unceded land of the Kumeyaay People. Acknowledging the People’s continued resiliency and history helps us honor them and ensure that cultural contributions of the original People of this land will be preserved and shared. “Revitalizing the Garden Studio will render the Museum better equipped to truly serve as a backyard for downtown San Diego families who want the benefits of green spaces for play,” explained NCM Executive Director Elizabeth Yang-Hellewell. “At the same time, we will engage our visitors and students in issues of local cultural heritage, traditions, climate action, conservation and sustainability.”

“The Barona Student Native Plant Garden Project at The New Children’s Museum brings a regional indigenous component that promotes urban greening and climate literacy,” says Jennifer Summers, SDG&E Director Tribal Relations and Land Services. “We commend NCM for continuing to inspire and educate children and their families on environmental and social responsibility through traditional knowledge of the Kumeyaay.”

“We are proud to partner with The New Children’s Museum to share in the exploration and preservation of our Native culture,” said Raymond Welch, chairman of the Barona Band of Mission Indians. “These native seeds and plants were once a vital resource for our ancestors. Today, they are still in use and are a significant part of our culture. We appreciate the value they bring to our local environment and look forward to watching this garden grow, welcoming children from across San Diego, and helping them gain a better understanding of the Kumeyaay People.” A free community celebration is planned for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, May 21. NCM will provide round-trip transportation from Barona Cultural Center & Museum to NCM for the opening reception. Attendees will be granted admission to the Museum along with enjoying the opportunity to participate in two facilitated hands-on, outdoor art making. The projects will include a flower making project inspired by the native flowers in the garden and a rock painting activity that encourages visitors to leave a piece of their own art to share with other visitors.

‘Iipay Nyechewuuw at NCM is funded in part by SDG&E. Additional funding for the Museum’s access, education, and studios programming is provided by the City of San Diego, California Arts Council, Institute of Museum and Library Services, The G.A. Foster Legacy Foundation, Dr. Seuss Foundation, U.S. Bank, The Rice Family Foundation, Ellen G & Edward G Wong Family Foundation, Samuel H. French & Katherine Weaver French Fund, Nordson Corporation Foundation, Pacific Life Foundation, and Cox Communications. Additional funding for the Museum’s general operations is provided by MDM Foundation, Hervey Family Fund at San Diego Foundation, Qualcomm, and Slate NYC.

Inspiration for the Barona Student Native Plant Garden Project is the Charter School’s Native Plant Garden and the Native Plant Seed Library installed at Barona Cultural Center & Museum in partnership with the San Diego Audubon Society.

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