Portola Children & Family Garden

Family Connections is thrilled to have a new beautiful garden in our backyard for children and families to engage in nature-based programs.
We’re so grateful to the Department of Early Childhood, LIIF, SF Children & Nature, SF Recreation & Park, BASE Landscape Architecture, Scientific Art Studio, William G. Irwin Foundation, and the Portola Neighborhood Association for their generous funding, design, and support in bringing this project to life. Enormous thanks to the amazing partners that contributed expertise, materials, plants, time, and care – Rebuilding Together SF, SheBuilds, California Native Plant Society, Presidio Trust, and Friends of the Urban Forest.
The space features an adventure path for children to climb and explore plants, a bug motel, play structures built from natural materials, a mud kitchen, raised garden beds, a smooth trail for kids to run and ride bikes, and so much more. Volunteers have helped our incredible crew in building stump edging along the granitecrete path, and kids have loved playing on the logs that were recycled from SF parks.

A brief history of the space:

In late 2019, Portola Neighborhood Association volunteers began to clear the overgrown weeds, trash, and debris in the space, which runs parallel to San Bruno Avenue and is the property of CalTrans. Before 2020, the space was unused and completely inaccessible.
In 2021, FCC joined the project, using grants from LIIF to build a door, an ADA ramp from our building, a brick patio, the path that runs from Burrows to our center, and two beautiful murals by local artists. The Portola Neighborhood Association now has a CalTrans permit and is continuing to develop additional blocks into a long Greenway for the Portola neighborhood. Read more about the PNA’s Portola Garden Club and their progress on the Greenway.
In 2022, FCC received a second grant from LIIF to connect children in preschool to nature, which includes a year-long professional development series to support teachers in integrating nature-based curriculum into our programs.
The Portola Family Garden will be completed in spring 2024 and will be used by Family Connections’ preschool, summer camps, afterschool programs, playgroups, workshops, meetings, and special events. We are so excited to continue to integrate nature-based learning into our programs and welcome you all into this beautiful garden.

View pictures of the space in progress and action: