Fresno, California 2021-07-23 13:47:19 –
The new pilot program aims to give North Valley students a deeper understanding of nature.
Landon Burke learned more about MCOE’s Outdoor STEAM adventure program.
Descent: Can you give us some background on what the OutdoorSTEAM Adventure Program is?
Matt Edwards: The idea was to recreate what was happening at Camp Green Meadows’ outdoor school, but a little closer to home. Due to pandemics and travel restrictions, it was desirable to design and create what students could do near their homes. It wasn’t an all-day trip to do something there. That was the beginning of it, and it evolved from there.
Descent: What are its benefits? For those unfamiliar with Camp Green Meadows. What are the benefits of taking a child out into nature?
Adrian Now: In order to build environmental literacy and connect students to the outside world, they need to be in it. It is a nature classroom. This not only takes students out and into a natural classroom, but it is also a good push back to distance learning. Our students have spent a lot of screen time in the last year and a half. Teachers want their children to be more off the screen than ever before. And it’s a very safe environment to take children out. It’s one of the safest things to open first, and it’s a safe environment as it’s all restaurants and so on. It’s a natural classroom that supports science education, but it connects students with the world around them by understanding how environmental principles work and influence. For example, the first pilot focused on the Merced River basin. The Merced River basin is connected to our agricultural community because it is irrigation water that supplies water to families in the valley. It is a recreation site for river rafting and tubing, so I hope you will continue to experience it. That’s why it’s called “adventure”. At some point, we also want to offer adventure / recreation. Currently, I am working on the curriculum at first. And we also understand the observation of being naturalists, this concept of “leaving no trace”, and how to interact with nature in a responsible way and become a good manager of the land. I want them to connect through.
Descent: Who do you want to connect with while in this pilot program phase? Were you looking to get involved in this?
Adrian: We are currently working with our internal partners just because they are the most accessible. And now we have been working so far this year. Next week, I’ll take immigrant education students to Henderson Park. These are the children of a family living in our immigration camp and are part of our seasonal workforce to travel. We have a county-wide program to work with immigrant students. We have also collaborated with teachers on the Valley Community Site, an alternative education site. That is, they are internal partners and are supported by additional internal partners. When we say it takes a village. You need a village to take your kids out!
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