Lake Tahoe students receive on-site environmental education

STPUD teaches students about watersheds and pollutants.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Volunteer educators from the South Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition last week brought third- and fourth-grade students from four different Tahoe elementary schools to the Tallac Historic Site to engage them in environmental education based on the venue.

Students alternated between interactive stations focusing on local history, watersheds, fire resistance and botany.

Kelso Carapia of the US Forest Service greeted groups of enthusiastic students as they descended from their buses each morning at the Tallac Historic Site. During the first days of the season, the students were lucky enough to have the site to themselves and were eager to explore and learn as they cycled through several stations in small groups.

Sitting on a sunny lawn overlooking the lake, Lauren Benefield of the South Tahoe Public Service District spoke to students about her station’s watersheds and pollutants. Next, students participated in an activity where they designed a hypothetical property by the lake. Students were given objects to represent potential pollutants on their property and passed them along the line and into a bucket representing the lake. The students reflected on how pollution in the watershed and lake accumulates because of everyone’s actions, and reflected on how they can do their part to conserve their environment.

The Sierra Nevada Alliance teaches students how to identify plants native to the sierra.
Supplied/Sierra Nevada Alliance

When the students traveled to the Washoe Tending and Gathering Garden station, they had the opportunity to learn about Washoe’s history, while learning to identify a number of native plants. After discussing the importance of plant identification, the students scattered around the garden to practice observing, identifying and creating botanical drawings of native plants.

“I want to learn how to identify more plants,” a third-grade student mused, clutching a detailed drawing of the Sierra gooseberry in his hand, where he had correctly labeled the type of leaf margins and noted how the Washoe used this. plant. .

Other stations included classes on fire resistance, tree biology and systems, historic and modern public transit, and the aquatic food web. At each station, representatives from local conservation organizations engaged students and brought unique perspectives from their own work. Volunteers for this week’s events came from STPUD, the City of South Lake Tahoe, the Sierra Nevada Alliance, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the Tahoe Environmental Research Center, the League to Save Lake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe Unified School District, Tahoe Resource Conservation District and UC Master. Gardeners.

The South Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition is a collaborative network of more than 25 local agencies that work together to bring environmental education resources to the Lake Tahoe Basin. STEEC has partnered with the Lake Tahoe Unified School District since 2008 to provide location-based and experiential learning in a variety of outdoor settings.

“This week’s STEEC event was a great way for young people in Tahoe to not only learn about the history of the land,” said Jocelyn Valencia, CivicSpark Fellow of STPUD, “but also to learn how their actions also have an impact on their environment.”

STEEC organizes educational programs for students of all ages throughout the year. Lessons incorporate the environment in which they are taught to give students tangible experiences to connect with what they are learning. In the winter, students have the opportunity to venture to the top of Heavenly Mountain Resort. Throughout June, STEEC will be working with Kindergarten through Grade 2 classrooms on a program focused on woods, water and wildlife.

The students gather on the beach after learning the history of the Pope’s estate.

Source: Sierra Nevada Alliance