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Xochiquetzal means The Place of the Quetzal Bird— a rare bird that lives in the cloud forests of Chiapas, Mexico and Guatemala, and has inspired people with its beauty and magic throughout the centuries. 

The Xochiquetzal Peace Garden was founded in 1993 by teachers from Whittier School. Their vision was to provide a peaceful, green oasis where teachers and students could learn about science and the environment. What was once an empty city lot adjacent to a graffiti-laced wall is now a florally diverse, peaceful garden with a mural of mystical realism. With the help of community members, businesses, and numerous gardening organizations, this vision has become a reality.



After a group of teachers from Whittier School formed the Xochiquetzal Project, the Xochiquetzal Peace Garden was “adopted” by NeighborSpace, which donated $4k and provided legal assistance and other guidance. The Oppenheimer Family Foundation matched that $4k donation, and the Xochiquetzal Project raised the remaining $2k necessary to purchase the $10k lot. By 1997, the lot was permanently under the Xochiquetzal Garden Committee management at Whittier School.

Since the Garden’s inception, many students (over 1,000) have passed through its gates; our goal is that each of them will carry with them a higher awareness of their interaction with nature and its importance in their lives.