Three weeks ago I wrote about the longevity of the great cedar tree in front of the Sierra Institute office. Like the Young Stewards Programming of the Sierra Institute, this tree draws our eyes to the future without renouncing its grounding in the present. In the present, the Sierra Institute has a variety of youth-focused programs that lay the groundwork for empowered, thoughtful communities as these youths become engaged adults.
Since that first blog post, we’ve checked in on the exciting developments that are shaping up to make Plumas Conservation, Restoration and Education in Watersheds (P-CREW) 2017 another great endeavor, and we’ve learned how Greenville Outdoor Adventure Learning (GOAL) shows local youth awesome ways to responsibly and safely recreate outdoors. We also provided a quick peek into some of the work we are doing to integrate critical and scientific thinking into classroom activities at the elementary school level.
Programs like these have directly exposed dozens of students to the nuanced majesty of Plumas and Lassen County land, and, in the case of P-CREW, introduced conservation/restoration-minded frames of interacting with their environment. Natural Resource Education programming, too, has challenged of students’ relationship to place by examining their connections to natural resources both in and out of classrooms.
Unlike the tangible growth of a cedar tree, these youth programs leave impacts that are often tough to measure. However, this year some impacts are more evident: the Summer 2017 session of P-CREW will include a former P-CREW team member as an Alumni All-Star Assistant; a current GOAL participant is taking her uncovered passion for outdoor adventure learning to the next level by assisting with trip-planning; and a number of Greenville High School students elected to work on natural resource based science fair projects.
Looking forward to our programming’s next steps, we see a few milestones on the horizon:
GOAL will take 12 students on a backpacking trip through southern Oregon from April 8th-12th .
Courtney Gomola and I will continue to work with Indian Valley Elementary School throughout April to introduce the scientific method and help prepare students for their Science Fair.
We will support Greenville High School’s Natural Resource class as they conduct their annual post-fire monitoring in late April, and help introduce their tradition to another school in the county.
Sierra Institute, the USFS, and Greenville High School’s garden class will work together to propagate native plants to restore burned areas throughout the Plumas National Forest.
Friday Night for Teens will start up with spring sessions, providing local youth a fun, safe hang-out.
P-CREW’s first session of 2017 will begin June 12, bringing together a new crew of rural and urban students to help steward our national forests.
The Sierra Institute hopes to develop and empower young stewards through recreation, environmental education, and career development. With the effort of a small but well-staffed non-profit and an engaged community at our back, we are able to begin to reach these goals.
We at the Sierra Institute would love to see you make donationsor volunteer time with us, but really we hope that you continually challenge your role as a steward of this planet, and that you always strive to be the steward you hope our children grow up to be. In that way, like the cedar, you’ll draw your eyes to the future without renouncing your grounding in the present. In that way, like the Sierra Institute, you’ll help expand the opportunities and horizons of our youth and develop young stewards!
Written by Luis Mayberry for Project Spotlight: Youth Stewardship March 2017