Save The Bay’s Education Team has begun to implement a new activity that’s only possible with a fusion of Bay-Saving values. Instead of throwing them out, Save The Bay staff collected their egg cartons for a great application of reuse! This activity, adapted from Life Lab, is called 6 of 1, ½ Dozen of the Other. This provides a new way for students to explore marsh ecosystems by interacting with each other and their environment. Using their egg cartons (or “secret science containers”), students collect items using opposite descriptive words written on the bottom. Soft and hard, wet and dry, and living or nonliving are some pairs that they use. Once students collect their items, they switch with another pair and guess each other’s words! Mostly done with students grades 1-6, older students can participate and choose their own words. This hands-on and engaging activity satisfies California State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Thanks to our Education team, kids are getting out to experience our beautiful Bay, learning necessary science skills, and having fun while doing it!
This month marks my one-year anniversary with Save The Bay as the Restoration Education Specialist. It has been a privilege working on protecting and restoring tidal marshes around the Bay through environmental education, habitat restoration and civic engagement with such a wonderful team. Looking back at this year, I am so proud of our Education Program’s accomplishments! Our education team has been working towards increasing access in our education programs. Many schools lack the funding and resources to participate in field trips, including environmental education programs. The two main barriers that inhibit many schools from joining our field trips are economic and linguistic challenges. Many schools cannot afford to spend money on field trips and transportation. One school bus can cost a school as much as $1,000 per bus! Not only are our field trips free, we also provide funds for bus transportation for schools that otherwise cannot afford it. Our team works hard to provide this opportunity for schools that qualify by engaging in targeted outreach. To address linguistic barriers, the habitat restoration team spends time in each of our meetings to learn and practice Spanish. We strive to communicate with Spanish speaking students and families. Furthermore, our education team has been working to provide Spanish and English in our instructions and on each visual that we use in our education program activities. While teaching, we use scaffolding techniques, such as hand motions and large visuals, to ensure students who are English language learners are able to engage and have fun. I love having students translate for us as it gives them leadership opportunities. We are in the final stages of editing our curriculum binder! This binder contains all of our program descriptions, activities, tricks and tips so that anyone, a volunteer, fellow or new staff member, can successfully lead a Community Based Restoration Education Program. We also have aligned many of our activities to Next Generation Science Standards. These Standards have been a wonderful tool in helping us figure out how to inspire students to become bay stewards and make connections to the bay and their everyday lives. NGSS combines science and engineering practices to encourage students to ask questions, experiment and be curious about the world and the community around them. We tailor our programs to fit each teacher’s learning objectives and educational needs. I am looking forward to this school season and thrilled to try new activities in the field! Come join us in the marsh by signing up for one of our student or volunteer programs!
“Being outside and away from tech – there’s a peace to it.” Sarah Pierce is proud to call Palo Alto home, but this lively math and science teacher has no qualms about confessing: something beautiful happens when you turn your back on power chords and explore local wetlands firsthand. Enter: Save The Bay. Through generous donations, we give students the chance to unplug and engage with nature. Sarah has been bringing Jordan Middle School students to our Bay Discovery program for the last five years. She says the “hard labor” of weeding is valuable for the more affluent students whose chores are often “outsourced.” Yet, Sarah is especially grateful to witness the effect that the Bay Discovery program has on underserved students, young people who “rarely have the experience of being on water in their own neighborhood.” For them, Sarah says, simply pausing can prove most powerful. “They can just sit and listen and hear how there are actually birds here.” Your support allows Bay Area students of all backgrounds to experience our hands-on programs. From planting projects to weeding activities, our education team connects young people with local marshland in memorable ways. Sarah says this environment can also empower girls to engage with science. She finds that school lab stations can sometimes prove competitive, even discouraging. But wetlands? To Sarah, they offer: “equity for everybody – they’re such a big space that everybody can weed.”
I am excited to introduce myself as the new Restoration Education Specialist for Save The Bay. I am very grateful to be a part of a passionate and talented team dedicated to the protection and restoration of the tidal marsh wetlands of the San Francisco Bay. Studying Environmental Studies and Sociology was certainly part of the reason I became an environmental educator and environmental justice activist. My main source of inspiration? Reading Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv . In his thought-provoking book, Louv connects the rising trends of childhood obesity, depression and attention disorders to a decrease in spending time outside. I want to inspire people of all ages to unplug, at least for a bit each day. I want to encourage them to slow down, be present, and explore the outdoors with friends, family and the surrounding critters. I am coming to Save The Bay with over 7 years of experience working as an environmental educator with people of all ages and backgrounds. I have experience working with marine invertebrates, teaching about marine ecology and inspiring an ocean conservation ethic. I also worked as a Naturalist teaching lessons about sustainability, ecology, organic gardening, alternative forms of energy, and natural history through experiential lessons hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains. For the past two years, I had the incredible opportunity to work with Education Outside as the instructor at Cleveland Elementary in San Francisco. I managed the school garden, as well as sustainability programs on campus and throughout the community. My favorite moments as an educator in these roles were when students found something that interested them, slowed down, observed, asked questions, and remained in awe. They were completely present. Not worried about anything. Simply inspired by the beauty and wonder of nature - whether staring at the ocean, standing in a redwood forest, or spotting a small plant growing in the cracks of a sidewalk. These are precisely the moments that inspire people of all ages to become environmental stewards. I am so excited to bring my passion as an educator to Save The Bay. I am looking forward to leading education, public and corporate Restoration Programs at our sites and engaging folks in hands-on restoration work. I will also be working on updating Save The Bay’s curriculum to include lessons and activities aligned with Next Generation Science Standards for each grade level. I am thrilled that I’ll get to develop Climate Change curriculum for middle and high school students. How lucky are we to live in a breathtaking urban area that’s so close to vibrant wildlife habitats? I am looking forward to working on the restoration of our tidal marshes. I encourage everyone to come and volunteer at one of our volunteer events and help the Bay Area remain ecologically diverse and resilient! See you in the marsh!