The National Environmental Education Foundation Partners with Growing Spaces

Nizhoni Elementary School New Mexico Greenhouse OpeningOn Earth Day, April 22, 2015, it was our privilege to attend the opening of the “First Ever Environmental Learning Lab”. Our 22ft. Growing Dome® was purchased for Nizhoni Elementary School by Samsung, in partnership with the National Environmental Education Foundation. We are so happy to be chosen as strategic partners for their “Greening of the Stem Program!”.

We at Growing Spaces® have maintained an educational support system for our clients as we want everyone to know that they can learn to garden organically and live a healthier lifestyle. Five hundred seventy students will use this Growing Dome Learning Lab, to revitalize the cultural wisdom about growing plants as well as learning about science, technology, engineering and math. We have been involved in over 100 schools, providing the space for learning on many different levels. Nizhoni Elementary School, in the heart of the Navajo Nation, in Shiprock, New Mexico, was selected to receive this Growing Dome due to their dedication to “equipping its students with the necessary knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in pursuing post-secondary education and early career opportunities”.

It is our privilege to be joined with the National Environmental Education Foundation, as we share the same mission. The Growing Dome offers a living classroom for teaching young people valuable skills and awareness on many levels. In the greenhouse, nature becomes their teacher and because they experience the use of sustainable systems, kids learn how to do more with less and to be innovative, holistic and practical. “Through hand-on activities, students can better understand how STEM can be applied to everyday life and help create real change in their communities,” said Lauren Restuccia, senior manager of corporate citizenship at Samsung.  “The Schoolyard STEM Lab is a great tool that we can use to accelerate student learning by introducing all of our students to the scientific inquiry process within the context of the natural environment”.

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In their opening ceremony, Jennifer Choate, Nizhoni’s gifted elementary teacher who submitted the winning application on behalf of the school, said that “The Schoolyard STEM Lab also provides an opportunity for students to harvest their own herbs and vegetables which can be shared with the community and used by the school to prepare more nutritious meals”. Obviously, this was a ‘dream come true’ for Growing Spaces, due to our desire to educate our clients in the importance of working with nature, and to bring health back to people and planet…..through organic gardening. Environmental awareness is behind our impetus to build a clean energy product, as well as the engagement with natural systems required to use it.

We were moved to tears at the opening ceremony at Nizhoni, because of the beauty of the children, the school, the teachers and their intent, as well as the presentations by Native Elders, students and teachers. We are grateful that our production staff speedily responded to the demand of manufacturing this Growing Dome in just a few weeks in order to meet the deadline of Earth Day. Growing Spaces provided an in-kind labor donation with Udgar Parsons, Growing Spaces Founder and Owner, and his team of Kyle Brookens, Adam Lein, and Andrew Phillips in completing construction of the 22’ Growing Dome over the course of three days during the weekend prior to the Earth Day Celebration.

By Puja Parsons


  • Everyone at Nizhoni loves the new STEM lab! We are growing already. We started a 3 Sisters garden and are designing a fruit salad garden. Next is the Peter Rabbit garden. And the carnivorous plant bog. We also want to try growing pinyon trees if anyone has any advice on how to get started…

    • We are so happy to hear about the progress! It sounds like there are a lot of exciting projects happening in the near future. A good place to start on getting information on growing pinyon trees is your local extension office.

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