Featured Project

A Magic Garden: Volunteers transform a public space

In 2017 the regional government was considering building on a neglected public lot in San Francisco, Nayarit. At the time the lot was being used as a trash dump. Local activists and volunteers saw this as an opportunity to transform a public space into a tranquil community park. But they had to hurry to make their dream a reality before the government moved to annex the “unused” land.

Organizers envisioned an “edible garden” for the community; a space to grow native trees, bushes and herbs, where everyone would be welcome to contribute or relax and enjoy nature. Classes on local plants and animals would be given to the children from nearby schools.

Armed with a plan for the placement of plants and paths throughout the space, volunteers now faced the task of clearing a mountain of debris full of scorpions, spiders and rodents.

With help from community center Entreamigos, Travler arranged a bulldozer and dump truck to clear and level the lot. After two days’ heavy work, while carefully avoiding desirable plants and trees, the lot was cleared and ready for planting.

Travler also funded and provided on-site labor to install a water line and hose bib to the middle of the lot so that the garden could be irrigated. Travler’s role in this project was not highly technical; it was purely field support and finance.

The Magic Garden (“Jardín Mágico”) is an inspiring sustainability success story of how to transform a public space. It illustrates how a community can claim, restore and share a sustainable public space for the common good. Volunteers like Marjo Guyot and other amazing community members work there several days each week. The Magic Garden continues to receive loving support from Entreamigos, Project LILHA and generous contributors. For more information on the project, see this Facebook link.

The Magic Garden needs donations and volunteers to host children’s classes and care for its plants. Currently, the children sit on tree stumps, and there are no signs to identify and teach about the plants in the garden. There is not enough money to pay for regular upkeep and watering of the plants.

Travler’s current goals are (1) to raise funds to install 5 public bench seats at a cost of about $295 USD per bench; (2) to pay a local artist to paint signs with the names and uses for the native anchor species found in the garden, at a total cost of about $450 USD, and; (3) fund part-time gardeners and botanists to maintain and teach classes in the garden at a cost of about $6,240 per year. On-site volunteers are also needed to keep the plants healthy, clear the weeds and walkways, and teach art or nature programs to the children.

Altogether we need to raise an additional $7,750 USD in donations in 2024-25 to fund these goals. If helping fund a native garden and teaching center interests you, please donate here.

Please help Travler install improvements and fund children’s programs in San Pancho’s public Magic Garden.