Erin S. Soper Memorial Fund

Erin S. Soper (March 4, 1973-April 20,2022)

Erin Sawyer Soper spent more than two decades teaching in Napa. For much of that time, she engaged her kindergarten and first grade students in the garden that she nurtured at Willow Magnet School (formerly El Centro).

Erin and her husband, Jon, became friends working in the McPherson School garden when they both taught there. While married, they both cultivated a love of garden-based teaching and learning. They believed that gardening not only delivers tasty and nutritious food, but also promotes a love for the planet.   

Erin loved sunflowers. A plant’s version of a smile, what else symbolizes friendship and optimism better than a radiant sunflower? Just like Erin, a sunflower is pretty special.

This fund was established in 2023 to honor Erin’s commitment to garden-based education. Submit the nomination form below if you or someone you know is eligible for this award.

Nomination Form

Frequently Asked Questions
How much is each award?


Who is eligible?

Any teacher or garden educator who is new to garden-based education, teaches at Willow Magnet School, or has nurtured a garden for at least five years is eligible.

What is the application process?

The window for nominations is from March 4 -April 4, 2023. After the nomination window closes, nominees will be reviewed and contacted for an interview. A committee will select and notify the top candidates (hopefully) by the end of April.

How many awards will be given?

Three awards will be given in the inaugural year. Thereafter, the number of awards will depend on the amount raised for the Erin S. Soper Memorial Fund.

Can I apply or nominate someone more than once?

Yes! If the the nominee is still eligible, they may apply or be nominated annually.

What can the funding be used for?

The primary purpose of this funding is to acknowledge the unpaid labor of garden educators who give tirelessly of themselves. It can be used to offset the out-of-pocket costs incurred from maintaining a school garden. We encourage teachers to use this funding to enhance their professional learning or purchase curriculum or materials to be used with students. It can buy plants, seeds, or soil but not permanent infrastructure for a school site. Unfortunately, it cannot pay for a substitute teacher.

How can I donate to the Erin S. Soper Memorial Fund.

You can send a check to The School Garden Doctor (140 Fairview Dr., Napa, CA 94559), make an online donation below using a secure payment processor, or through CanDo’s Give!Guide (December 1-31st). All donations are tax deductible.


Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Please select an amount


Or enter a custom amount


Your contribution is greatly appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly
Teaching with Sunflowers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: