A Garden Suited to Our Climate
The Desert Oasis Teaching Garden is an experiential learning garden on Albuquerque Academy’s campus that demonstrates soil health, regenerative agriculture, water conservation, and climate adaptability here in the desert Southwest. At the DOT Garden we collaborate with Academy faculty to provide hands-on, inquiry-based learning opportunities for students in all subjects areas. At each grade level, students have opportunities to engage in and make connections between the garden’s diverse ecosystem and their daily lives. Depleted and disturbed soil is truly at the root of many of the challenges society faces, and fostering healthy soil holds many of the solutions. At the DOT Garden students learn about soil health and human health, biodiversity and ecosystem function, the history of agriculture and solutions to climate change that are right under our feet – all while strengthening their bodies, engaging their hearts and fostering creativity, personal balance, and a connection to the natural world.
The History of the DOT Garden
The Desert Oasis Teaching Garden stewards two acres of land on Albuquerque Academy’s campus. It is an example of a regenerative agriculture ecosystem including a regionally adapted pollinator and wildlife habitat.
Formerly input-intensive turf grass, the Desert Oasis Teaching Garden was born in the summer of 2013 as a vision for a community-based space for experiential learning and exploration of regenerative agriculture in the face of climate change. Inspired by other school-based garden and farming projects, former science faculty member Karen Beamish and community member Karen Bentrup began investigating agricultural possibilities for the space. Taking what they learned from community leaders like ethnobotanist Gary Paul Nabhan and rainwater harvester Brad Lancaster, as well as emerging science on soil health principles, they focused on implementing regenerative practices that unify innovative technologies with the strength of New Mexico’s diverse cultural heritage and a respect and reverence for nature and humanity.