The growing concern and interest in environmental issues such as loss of biodiversity, both locally and globally, makes engaging young people in these topics increasingly important for stewarding our critical life-supporting resources. Designed to address significant declines in access to environmental education in California classrooms, Golden Harvest provides a 2-hour, multi-disciplinary exploration of California cultural traditions, ecology and biology in an experiential outdoor classroom. It is specifically structured to help third and fourth grade students learn how indigenous people lived off the land and discovered plant species suitable for food, clothing, building materials and tools. Golden Harvest also includes a garden walk focused on identifying California living plant communities followed by a trip to the Garden’s lab where students and teachers use microscopes to observe how the plants adapt and survive in changing environments. Funding supports educator salaries, hands-on instructional materials, and reduced fees and transportation costs for schools that could not otherwise participate in this program.
Our goal is to increase children’s eco-literacy by giving them hands-on experiences that connect them to the rich cultural heritage of our state’s native peoples and their use of natural resources, and prepare them for the environmental challenges of the future in ways that are fun, dynamic and relevant to their lives and interests. Students examine and discuss the many fascinating interactions between people and plants with curriculum aligned to California’s new EEI Environmental Education units. Teachers are introduced to new ways to deepen students’ knowledge of ecology and biology and have the opportunity to practice laboratory skills with an expertly-trained environmental educator.
Goals for this program:
1. Support and supplement schools implementation of California’s newly adopted EEE environmental education units for 3rd and 4th Grades by providing an outdoor classroom where students are introduced to nature through interactive learning experiences
2. Encourage life-long interest in science and the natural world by offering innovative and exciting programs to our youngest audiences
3. Illustrate the historical connections between people and plants in our geographic region to introduce ongoing topics of productivity, sustainability and renewal.
Total program cost: $20,000