Rockdale Academy: A Hub for Community Gardens in Avondale

Posted November 6, 2023 by Bridget Reilly

The Rockdale Urban Learning Garden serves as a growing site for plants that are eventually installed either inside the Zoo or out in the Avondale community. As a result of the active collaboration between the Zoo and Rockdale Academy, school staff and students often play a significant role in our ongoing efforts to activate green spaces in Avondale.

By expanding tree canopies and increasing pollinator habitat, we are both advancing our Zoo’s conservation mission and honoring our commitment to the Avondale Quality of Life Plan.

students planting plants
director of horticulture speaking to students in a garden

Rockdale students and staff with the Horticulture Team and Toyota Volunteers: April 21st, 2023

At an Earth Day Celebration this year, Rockdale staff and students joined our Horticulture team and corporate volunteers in the Urban Learning Garden to pot nearly 2,000 perennial plugs thanks to a grant from the National Environmental Education Foundation for expanding pollinator habitat. After growing for several months in the Garden’s Quonset huts, the perennials were moved to Irving Playground and planted by Zoo staff and board members, Groundwork staff, and community members during National Pollinator Week. Irving Playground largely serves the residents of the nearby White Oak Townhomes, a number of whom are students at Rockdale.

Plants grown at the Rockdale Urban Learning Garden have been installed in other locations around Avondale, including the Northern Larona Community Garden, the Beldare Vine pocket park, and around new Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden parking areas on Erkenbrecher Ave. Plants have also been installed in neighboring communities, including John P. Parker School and Shroder High School in Madisonville, Rees E. Price Academy in East Price Hill, and Bond Hill Academy in Bond Hill.

plants in a garden

Same plants at Irving: June 20th, 2023