Sustainability in Action at Govalle Elementary School

Govalle teachers and community members creating a home for the Monarch butterflies.

Every day is Earth Day at Austin ISD! We are #AISDproud to celebrate Earth Week April 19-23 by encouraging students, families, teachers and staff to think about how they can make the earth and our community a better place. This year’s AISD Earth Week website is full of fun and meaningful eco-actions, including Earth Day Bingo, the Climate Challenge Pledge, Jardín de Voces storytelling project, and much more. 

Sustainability is a driving force behind our mission to provide a high quality and comprehensive educational experience that challenges and inspires students to make a positive contribution to our world. As a district-wide initiative, AISD is working to bring the latest green building innovations and technologies to all of our schools. With the 2017 Bond Program, each school is thoughtfully designed with sustainable features that provide students with the opportunity to solve real-world problems and build a culture of stewardship.

AISD Urban Forester Matt Mears teaches students how to plant tree seedlings.

Govalle Elementary School, one of the schools built through the 2017 Bond Program, is an exciting example of sustainability in action. As part of the modernization, Govalle’s new campus includes raised garden beds, a media resource center reading garden, tree preservation, a cistern, an outdoor classroom, open play field, a covered sports court and playgrounds for students and the community to enjoy. Earlier in April, AISD Urban Forester Matt Mears worked with students to plant seedlings in their new open field. The seedlings came from a beloved tree that was removed from the site due to poor health and safety concerns. “Family tree” takes on a whole new meaning at Govalle as future students play and learn under the shade of this new generation of legacy trees. 

Just off the media resource center, teachers take their classes to visit the learning and pollinator gardens. With help from a National Wildlife Federation grant, Govalle teachers have filled the gardens with native plants to attract Monarch butterflies. By observing the Monarchs, students learn how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, pollinate a flower and migrate to their winter homes. 

Govalle’s bee apiary will teach students the importance of bees to our community.

An AISD teacher Sam DeSanto used beekeeping to bring lessons to life at his former school of Brooke Elementary. AISD Construction Management staff worked closely with Mr. DeSanto to build a new apiary near the vegetable gardens at Govalle and determine the safest time to transport the hive. Once the hive moves to its forever home in this fall, students will learn the importance of bee pollination and how it impacts the foods we eat. It is incredibly rewarding to see our students experience the natural world in new and exciting ways! To learn more about the Govalle modernization, visit For more information on AISD’s commitment to sustainability, visit Happy Earth Week!