By Dan Kirk
We are excited to announce that our Education Department will be following along with our school district partners’ guidelines for schools re-opening, which means we will be offering in-class programming for the 2021-2022 school year! That being said, we are preparing for the potential need to shift back to hybrid or a completely virtual teaching environment, should that be the case again.
Our programming for this school year will be slightly different than our previous in-school programming we have done in the past, because we’ve decided to lengthen all of our programs from 3-5 lessons to 4-8 lessons (including an optional field trip)! We see value in this change because it allows us to build relationships with students and vice versa, and it also provides an opportunity to more easily embed action projects and place-based stewardship activities within the program and/or as a whole class.
The following is a brief description of our educational programs for this school year, but please feel free to read more about each program, read our Theory of Change, or inquire within by visiting our education page on our website:
The Water Around Us (grades K-2)
Students will investigate the guiding question, “Why is water important for life on earth?” from a variety of perspectives in this 4 lesson program. Students will explore the wonders of the watery world that surrounds them through dance, games, stories and more!
Me & My Watershed (grades 3-5)
Students will investigate the guiding question, “How am I part of my watershed?” The 8 lesson program will provide students with a foundational understanding of what a watershed is and how they are connected to their local watershed. Through nature journaling, students have the chance to explore, observe, and personally reflect on these connections. In the Me & My Watershed: Creekside program, students investigate, monitor, and advocate for the health of local creek ecosystems within our watershed.
Our Ecosystem, Our Community (grades 6-8)
Students investigate the guiding question, “How am I part of my local ecosystem?” This 6 lesson program will provide students with a foundational understanding of biodiversity and interdependence in ecosystems, and opportunities to explore their local ecosystem through nature journaling and community science data collection. In Our Ecosystem, Our Community: Greening Urban Watersheds, students build and test models to learn how restoring urban ecosystems benefits communities and wildlife and manages stormwater. At the conclusion of the program, students transform their knowledge into meaningful action to understand and protect their local ecosystem.
Climate Change and Community Resilience (grades 9-12)
Students investigate the guiding question, “How can I help develop community resilience in the face of climate change?” The lessons in this program provide scaffolding for students to engage in conversations and activities about climate change, the local impacts of climate change, and how developing community resilience will help reduce these impacts through labs, case studies, games and reflective journaling. In Climate Change & Community Resilience: Resilient Infrastructure, students will engage with green infrastructure professionals and visit restoration sites to learn about local green infrastructure impacts and urban ecosystem benefits. Students will gain practical tools for assessing personal and community needs through collective mapping exercises that weave in discussions about green space and gentrification.
We are also excited to share an exciting new partnership opportunity between San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and The Watershed Project (TWP) in which we will be partnering with John O’Connell High School to deliver our Climate Change and Community Resilience: Resilient Infrastructure so that students gain some foundational understanding of the benefits of green infrastructure as it relates to water management and water resourcefulness. These high school students will then use what they learned in our program to teach K-5 students in SFUSD about rainwater harvesting systems in schools where we have already installed catchment systems. The goals are that K-5 students understand how rainwater catchment systems on their campus work and 9-12 grade students have an opportunity to gain green career pathway experience and mentor youth in their community.
We are so excited about all of our programming, and some of it was a long time coming! If you are a teacher or know of any K-12 teachers in West Contra Costa County or beyond, feel free to inquire at the bottom of the education page on our website, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.