The News Site of Fresno City College

The Rampage Online

The News Site of Fresno City College

The Rampage Online

The News Site of Fresno City College

The Rampage Online

Beauty in Our Backyard

Students+sit+and+socialize+on+the+path+that+surrounds+the+Koi+Fish+pond+on+the+bright+morning+of+January+11%2C+2024.
Photo by: Logan Payne
Students sit and socialize on the path that surrounds the Koi Fish pond on the bright morning of January 11, 2024.

The Fresno City College campus is covered with gorgeous man-made and natural scenery everywhere you look, but the Gladys Brown Botanical Garden, founded in the mid-70s, is a true testament to Mother Nature’s magic.

Every day, students visit the garden to get away from the commotion on campus and enjoy a moment of serenity. Even though the attraction is open to all, most people aren’t aware of the garden’s history and require efforts to keep the greenery green.

Steve DaSilva, the horticulture program specialist, has been tending to the garden for close to 32 years, starting in 1992 as a groundskeeper. This will be DaSilva’s final semester at Fresno City, so I sat down with him to reflect on the garden’s legacy and discuss what the position has meant to him.

Steve DaSilva poses for a picture in the southeast corner of the luscious greenhouse on Feb. 2, 2024. (Photo by: Logan Payne)

During those first ten years, DaSilva worked with volunteer Gladys Brown herself before he took over as the area’s manager.

“I recognized that this lady wasn’t going to be here forever, and the school needed a permanent person to maintain this area. I knew it was something I wanted to do for my career,” DaSilva said as we glanced around his office. He sat below a long and narrow window that pointed to the fence of the math science building.

During the early morning fog, the window illuminated and colorized the quilt of seed packets that enveloped the table we spoke over.

DaSilva’s contributions to the space have gone far beyond what you might expect. Planted throughout the moss patches and pebble farms are clay masks decorated with unique artistic vision. These faces are made in collaboration with the Ceramics department. This biology-art project wouldn’t exist without DaSilva and his desire to “incorporate some art into the grounds.”

Some of the beloved Koi fish have been in the garden pond since DaSilva joined the school, but he’s also established a partnership with The Central California Koi Society to ensure there is always plenty of fish in the pond for students to appreciate and take pictures of.

Batman’s ceramic mask peers out from a cement pot, sitting comfortably under a pine tree and across from the Koi pond where the sun shines bright upon a sitting student on January 11, 2024. (Photo by: Logan Payne)

The self-guided tree walk on campus is something else DaSilva pioneered. With over 60 unique species of trees on campus, and some over 100 years of age, this tour offers some of the best sights around. If you’d like to pick up a program for the tree walk, head over to DaSilva’s office in the garden for more information.

The garden is fenced and tucked next to the math/science building on the east side of campus, where the doors are open every Monday through Friday from 8 to 5 P.M.

“I’ve enjoyed working here over the years, and true interaction with students is just the most rewarding part,” DaSilva said as he folded his arms and glanced at the greenhouse he’d spent years tailoring to.

“It’s been a gift, but at the end of this semester in May, I will be retiring after 32 years here,” DaSilva concluded.

Before the garden is under new management, be sure to extend your gratitude to DaSilva for his dedication and all the natural beauty he’s given us.

Rows of potted plants and flowers sit on tables next to the greenhouse for everyone to admire. Photo taken on January 11, 2024 (Photo by: Logan Payne)

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About the Contributor
Logan Payne, Reporter
Logan Payne joins us this semester as an eager reporter, excited to make his mark. Standing tall at 6’5”, Logan makes quite the first impression with his colorful Crocs and signature Seinfeld pants. Don’t be fooled by his fashion though, this reporter is resilient and juggles the many responsibilities that come with five classes and employment at Maya Cinemas. Before joining The Rampage, Logan was involved with the Roosevelt Theater Company for four years where he wrote, directed, acted, and worked backstage for many productions. He’s also a certified linguist who has always loved to read and write stories. Logan has grown very familiar with the cutting room; hours slip away when he video edits due to his perpetual perfectionism. He is well-versed in the art of film and knows that every frame shown and every note heard makes a key difference in the bigger picture. This isn’t his first time in a newsroom either; he’s put together many news packages for Roosevelt High and CART projects over the years and is more than comfortable with conducting an interview or being the handyman on set. Logan can’t work on anything without being meticulous, and this eye for detail makes him a wonderful asset to the team. This is Logan’s second semester as a journalism major here at Fresno City College, and he likes to spend his time on campus productively. When he’s not in class, he’s in the library catching up on schoolwork or building a narrative with his team in The Rampage office.

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