Land & Water Caretakers Internship Program

The Land & Water Caretakers Internship Program pilot was in partnership with Liberty High School’s Learning Through Interests program.

Student participants learned about permaculture, systems thinking and sustainable landscape design, installation and maintenance. They built skills they can use for further study, future careers and as future community leaders.

Their work replaced a Benicia homeowner’s lawn with a food forest garden that captured rainwater from the roof as well as directly in the ground. The students then used the concepts they learned to create independent designs to receive the Land & Water Caretakers Certification.

Liberty High School received a Jack London Award for Educational Innovation from Sonoma State University for its Learning Through Interests program, and the Caretakers internship was one of the programs featured in the award video.

Design/Installation Project: Giardino su una Colina (Garden on a Hill)

The Liberty High Caretakers worked on this project alongside their instructors starting with the initial interview with the homeowners to discuss their vision for the garden and assess the site. Caretakers learned in class about permaculture design principles, soil composition, guilds of plants that work together and rainwater capture — all knowledge they put to use in their work converting the lawn into a waterwise edible garden with rain-capturing in-ground swales and fruit trees. Learn more about the Giardino su una Colina garden project by clicking on the image to the left or clicking here.

Design Project

Students interested in earning Sustainable Solano’s Caretakers certification completed the internship by using what they had learned in class and during their hands-on garden installation to create their own design for a garden. These designs used the concepts of capturing rainwater and laundry machine greywater and incorporated guilds of plants. See a video of one of the presentations to the right.

2020 Land & Water Caretakers

Brian Casillas

Miguel Padilla

Richard Skillman

Support for this program comes from the second amendment to the Valero/Good Neighbor Steering Committee Settlement Agreement and Republic Services.