With grant funding from the Teichert Foundation and Yuba Watershed Institute, Sierra Streams Institute staff
created a standards-based environmental education curriculum guide,
The Nature of This Place,
specifically for schools in the Sierra foothills. The guide consists of five
broad lesson topics, such as Sierra Nevada plant ecology and Chinook salmon life
history, with extension activities that allow for further study.
The curriculum guide has been implemented in the Twin Ridges Elementary School
District, the Yuba River Charter School, and the Nevada City School District in an ongoing effort to improve student
performance in science.
We plan to develop a similar guide specific to the high Sierra, for use in classrooms in
the Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District, and to develop additional
lesson topics for The
Nature of This Place.
Sierra Streams Institute is particularly proud to offer high-quality scientific experiences
to a large number of interns from several colleges and universities. Internships are a
critically important way for young people to gain valuable experience in the working
world while earning college credits. Our program offers the quality of opportunity that
you might expect in a large city or college town.
For Sierra Streams, it provides a much-needed supply of volunteers for our
comprehensive summer monitoring and assessment program, as well as a stimulating
infusion of youthful energy and enthusiasm.
We have proudly hosted student interns from Sierra College, CSU Sacramento, UC Berkeley,
University of the Pacific, University of San Francisco, and UC Davis.
These interns have completed a variety of projects, such as making an algae identification
manual and creating designs and drawings for publications and notecards. They have also helped
us conduct physical habitat assessments, do salmon habitat restoration work,
collect survey data from community members for a research project, and
teach our educational programs.
Community Service Learning
We offer students at area middle
and high schools the opportunity to earn community service hours working on
our science and restoration projects, or on projects the students design themselves.
Students at Ghidotti High School, Yuba
River Charter School, and Forest Charter Schoolall of which require
community service for graduationhave taken advantage of these opportunities.
We are delighted that several students
became so invested in our restoration work that they come back to
volunteer on their own time.
In addition, we have opportunities for Nevada Union High School students to develop
scientific research projects for their senior projects, a graduation requirement.
We also work closely with the Nevada Union Stream Club.
Early Childhood Education
Children are filled with natural curiosity, endless
questions, and a desire to try things out with their own two
handsall the ingredients for making a scientist.
Guided by board member Mary Anne Kreshka, professor of Early Childhood Development
at Sierra College's Grass Valley campus, we recently began an early childhood
education program for preschool-aged children that aims to guide
parents and caregivers in nurturing and developing the natural curiosity of
children at a young age, so that they
enter their school years ready and excited to learn.
We work with students from Sierra
College and Ghidotti Early College High School who are
enrolled in classes at the Sierra College child development
program, and guide them in exploring the wonders of science with young children.