$49K to expand Jack London park’s nature education
Community Foundation Sonoma County awarded Jack London Park Partners a $49,200 grant to expand its Educational Equity Initiative.
The grant will support “Nature’s Design,” a Benziger Family Environmental Education Program for seventh-grade students at low-income (Title 1) schools in Sonoma County. Schools participating this spring include Altimira Middle School in Sonoma, Washington Middle School in Cloverdale, and Petaluma Accelerated Charter School.
Guided by Next Generation Science Standards for California schools, the “Nature’s Design” seventh-grade ecology program is a multiple-visit field trip program focused on ecosystem dynamics and biodiversity. Over the course of three learning experiences (two at school and one field trip to the park), students work in teams to explore questions like, “How can we mitigate some of the impacts of climate change in our communities now and how can we fortify our ecosystems for the future?”
“Through this program, we are introducing the next generation of environmental stewards to new ways of looking at nature. They will use critical thinking, hands-on learning and comparative analysis, skills that will help them succeed in any field. Working in small teams, students learn the importance of collaboration in coming up with solutions to environmental challenges. We are grateful to Community Foundation Sonoma County for their investment in this impactful program,” said Jack London Park Partners Executive Director Matt Leffert.
The program culminates in a design competition titled "Rewild My School" where students redesign their schoolyards to increase biodiversity levels, while honoring the school grounds as a place of learning and human-centered activities.
The Expanded Learning Advancing Educational Equity initiative is a statewide effort designed to provide academic and socio-emotional support for marginalized youth.
“Nature has a powerful impact on our physical and mental health, especially for young people,” said Elly Grogan, of the foundation. “CFSC is excited to support Jack London Park Partners and the students participating in this program, who will reap the numerous benefits of connecting with nature. We can't wait to see the positive results of this experience.”