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Visiting The Athenian School

Posted on Jan 25, 2013 by in Blog in Pics, Community, Featured, Fruit Tree Care, Hunger Relief | 9 comments

Visiting The Athenian School

When I go to informal learning-based places like museums, gardens and heritage sights, I always look for the often faded plaques, the interpretive signs. They enhance my perception of the location by drawing my attention to the history and identity of the place.

If you are a new visitor to our partner site, The Athenian School, consider this post to be your interpretive sign.

Two of the core values of the school, are environmental stewardship and community service. These values have been molded and practiced since 1965 when the school was founded by Dyke Brown

Arriving at School

Chances are you will be approaching the school from Diablo Road. At the three way stop sign you will turn onto Mt. Diablo Scenic Boulevard, where you’ll see the school sign on the right hand side.

Olive Trees

As you turn into the school grounds, notice the olive trees on your right hand side that line the driveway. Recently the same teacher that organized the orchard. organized a team of students in order to care of the trees. The trees have been pruned, monitored and harvested. This year, they collected almost a thousand pounds (960 lb.) of olives that were pressed into oil.

Estakhri Family Sports Field

The all weather sports field beyond the olive trees is an example of what we should consider for all school sports fields in the country. The installation of this field, saves nearly 2 million gallons of water annually.


Garden Project

As you go up the hill, at the end of the Estakhri Family Sports Field, on your left hand side you will see a residential building. The raised vegetable bed visible from the road, is a small part of The Athenian sustainable food production. Last year students grew 1,200 pounds of produce for their kitchen and converted 10,000 pounds of kitchen waste into 8,000 pounds of organic compost.

Solar Energy

In you are standing on the hill near the orchard, downhill, you will see the school’s swimming pool heated by the panels installed on the roof of the adjacent gym. From the same spot, if you look up the hill you will see a solar array system (one of the largest nonprofit installations in California) that produces nearly 70% of schools electricity needs.


The Orchard

The Athenian has a long tradition of taking care of the needy. Students volunteer at local hunger relief agencies such as the Contra Costa Food Bank, Monument Crisis Center and St Anthoney’s soup kitchen in San Francisco.

The newly planted orchard, located directly below the baseball field, hold 125 fruit trees where students will learn about the impact of fruit trees on the environment and produce fresh fruit for donation to charities.

Visit Athenian-04



  1. When I see what the Athenian School is doing, I feel gratified and hopeful, for this school provides a model for teaching a hands-on approach to a sustainable future for next generations on our small planet.

    • Thank you for coming out and helping build the orchard. You are becoming an expert at handling those tall ladders!

  2. We were there today and had our eyes opened. We want to plant an orchard for the homeless. How do we get started? Thank you for all that you are doing.

  3. Thank you for the grand idea and the wonderful video. My family would like to volunteer more with you guys. Keep us on your list for the next one.

    • Thank you for your help. I trust there will be other orchards to build and now you are an experienced helper!

  4. My kids are past school age.Next time around, I’ll ask my parents to send me to this school.

  5. Thank you Siamack for your leadership in helping our orchard come to fruition! The students had a great time planting today and it certainly could not have been done in a half hour without your expertise!

    Here’s a link to some photos and a short video about the project. We also linked to the videos you created and your post here. Thanks again for all you’ve done! We look forward to a continued partnership with The Urban Farmers.

    • You are welcome Sarah. It was a wonderful day. The students were focused, working hard on project where there is no direct benefit in it for them, and more importantly, understood their role within the project, with grace and maturity.

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