April 22 marks Earth Day, a worldwide push to protect and appreciate our environment. Over a full year has passed since the COVID -19 pandemic began, and Earth Day reminds us of our impacts on nature, both good and bad.

For more than two decades, The Water Conservation Garden has been at the forefront of protecting water and other natural resources. At the inception of The Water Conservation Garden, California was facing water shortages due to drought, a problem all Californians are familiar with. The average American was using 82 gallons of water a day at home – enough to fill 2 large bathtubs. Our community members wanted to take the right actions, but they did not know where to turn or what to do.

In this moment, The Water Conservation Garden was created to demonstrate water saving techniques. Our community rose to the challenge by turning off their faucets, taking shorter showers, transitioning to drought tolerant landscaping, fixing leaks and much more. These techniques are once again critical, as residential water usage – and water bills – have risen since the pandemic began. Outdoor water use accounts for over 30% of residential water usage, and there are many easy ways to reduce this percentage. Here are a few other water saving tips that have been helpful over the years:

Here are a few other water saving tips that have been helpful over the years:

  1. Don’t water your lawn every day, and when you do, do so when the sun is not out
  2. Using your finger, a shovel, or a moisture meter, check your lawn before you water it
  3. Attend classes at The Water Conservation Garden on water-wise gardening practices

Despite the ongoing challenges and crises, the community remains connected and strong, helping others whenever the opportunity arises. Our Garden would not be possible without support from our Joint Powers of Authority (JPA): Helix Water District, Otay Water District, Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, San Diego Water Authority, Sweetwater Authority and the City of San Diego. Jennifer Pillsbury, CEO and Executive Director of the Water Conservation Garden shares, “The Water Conservation Garden is proud of the JPA, who have employed essential workers and supported their customers impacted by the pandemic since the very beginning.”

The Water Conservation Garden also strives to create change and assist those most in need right now. Out of the 88,000 students we typically serve, 70% are from Title 1 schools operating in underserved communities. However, due to the impacts of the pandemic and school shutdowns, over 30,000 students have had to drop from our education programs. The Water Conservation Garden recognizes the disparities in education that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. That is why we have created a scholarship fund with a goal to raise $70,000 to better serve these students during these challenging times. However, we cannot do this alone. We need your help to reach this goal for us to provide life-changing experiences to students. Our Scholarship Fund will be used to provide full or partial funding for children from Title 1 schools to receive admission vouchers, memberships, Ms. Smarty-Plants Family Field Trips, and other enrichment activities throughout the year.

Jennifer Pillsbury calls on the community to act. “Now more than ever, the education and experiences we provide are vital. The impact these programs have on the students we serve is immeasurable,” says Pillsbury. We rally our community today to make an investment in a cleaner, healthier and safer future for our planet. In honor of Earth Day on April 22nd, we hope you will consider a donation to The Water Conservation Garden, helping the people we serve thrive and grow.

​As the COVID-19 numbers continue to decline, The Water Conservation Garden is excited to bring back safe, in person events and activities to allow everyone the opportunity to engage with nature. COVID- 19 has exasperated inequalities for children from disadvantaged communities. The impact from learning loss will be felt for years to come. To grow from these unprecedented challenges, we must address the disparities in education and take active steps to reduce learning loss. Your gift could inspire the next generation of environmental leaders.

To learn more about The Water Conservation Garden, please visit: www.TheGarden.org

For further information, please contact us at: [email protected]


The mission of The Water Conservation Garden is to inspire positive change in the living environment through the conservation of water and other natural resources. Our garden has nearly six acres of displays that showcase water conservation through a series of beautiful themed and educational exhibits. The Water Conservation Garden is proud to serve San Diego County residents of all ages, including many underprivileged children who have limited exposure to nature. The Water Conservation Garden provides a safe, natural environment where children and adults can explore and discover amazing plants and animals. Hands-on exhibits enhance the visitor experience and foster a direct connection to their environment. These tangible educational experiences help create informed and engaged children and adults. Just last year, The Water Conservation Garden and its Ms. Smarty-Plants™ program educated more than 73,000 children and adults.


The Helix and Otay Water Districts in conjunction with Cuyamaca College conceived the idea of The Water Conservation Garden as a response to the drought in the early 1990’s.

In May 1999, The Water Conservation Garden opened with a 4.5 acre plot on the Cuyamaca College campus. Thanks to additional land leased by the college, The Water Conservation Garden has grown to nearly 6 acres.

JPA members who consist of the Water Conservation Authority are: Helix Water District, Otay Water District, Grossmont -Cuyamaca Community College District, San Diego Water Authority, Sweetwater Authority and City of San Diego.


  • Nationally known for leadership in water conservation, The Water Conservation Garden has won recognition from the American Public Gardens Association as one of the eight top gardens in the United States for its community education programs.
  • In 2013, The Water Conservation Garden’s nationally recognized Ms. Smarty-Plants™ education program won the Governor of California’s Environmental Leadership Award.
  • In 2019, The Water Conservation Garden was a recipient of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Award for the Making a Difference category
  • Last year, The Water Conservation Garden empowered 73,000 children and adults through educational exhibits and its signature Ms. Smarty-Plants™ program.


Available for Interview

If you have questions or if you would like to schedule an interview, please contact Janelle Wallace by [email protected] or 818-497-3219.

    Your Cart
    Your cart is empty
    .stock.out-of-stock {display: none !important; }