Bringing Nature Back Into the Classroom and our lives by Becoming a Chaparralian
As teachers, we are overwhelmed by the growing demands of standardized testing and curriculum expansion. As parents, our time is often totally consumed by competing schedules. As adults, well...life gets way too busy sometimes.
But, if we stop for a moment and look into the eyes of our children, it becomes pretty clear what is really important; helping each other find the time to breathe and learn to enjoy life. There is no better way to do this than by fostering a connection with the natural world by introducing each other to a local wild space and become familiar with its occupants, stories, and rhythms.
NOW AVAILABLE TO TEACHERS
1. A six-page chaparral guide that provides all the basic details about chaparral in a way that is enjoyable to most kids. Elementary and middle school teachers (5th - 8th grade) will find it especially helpful because it is the only accurate (and fun to read) description of the chaparral ecosystem currently available for those grade levels. If you you like a copy, please send us an email requesting one.
2. We also have contributed to a 4th grade curriculum project that focuses on California native shrublands. You can obtain a copy below:
2011. Exploring San Diego’s Shrublands. Grade Four Curriculum. SD Children and Nature Collaborative. 47 p
One of the best ways to reconnect with the natural world is by helping others see what's around them, be it through birdwatching, botany, photography, or leading nature walks. The following is a list of opportunities that will allow you to become a volunteer naturalist so you can share with others the passion you have for the natural environment.
Explore Nature with a Naturalist Naturalist For You (NFY) was created to connect all of us to the diverse natural areas found in Southern California. NFY naturalists possess a broad knowledge and understanding of the natural world and are passionate about sharing that awareness with you. Please contact them (by clicking on the icon to the right) to participate in one of their hikes or programs.
Where it all began
The importance of having some place where children and adults can connect with nature is clearly demonstrated by the presence of a wild urban park and the impact such a place can have on the lives of its visitors. In 1971, the recently developed El DoradoNatureCenter in Long Beach, California changed the life of one particular high school volunteer naturalist in ways he never imagined. Thanks to the Long Beach El Dorado Chapter of the National Audubon Society and Nature Center staff, many kids continue to have a chance to experience nature first hand. Visit the sites below to find out what's happening now (Photo above is the bridge along the 2 mile trail at the Nature Center, 1971).
The primary purpose of this project is to educate and motivate individuals most directly affected by the fires in terms of understanding and monitoring the multi-faceted environmental recovery process, with special emphasis on source and run-off pollution, watershed and habitat restoration, and species recovery.
The project targets 16,000 children in grades K-8. Using both traditional curricula and in-school interactive programming for grades K-5, and workbook in comic book format for middle school children (grades 6-8), students and teachers will be assisted in understanding post-burn environmental impacts and provided opportunities for direct involvement in the recovery process.
A secondary purpose of this environmental education initiative is to develop grade-appropriate post-fire curricula that will educate and engage students in grades K-8 about the fires in terms of immediate, intermediate, and long-term environmental impacts.