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Building Bay Area Environmental Leaders – SPAWN California Naturalist

 

This summer, Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN) brought 25 educators and community leaders together for 8 days for a unique learning opportunity to become certified University of California Naturalists. Our training inspired these leaders to develop their own programs for one epic public event in September.

“The strength of what we did, and all that we learned, really kept me connected with why I do what I do.” – participant feedback

This effort began over a year ago when we had the idea to support training leaders from Latino Outdoors (LO) to be naturalists. Rather than SPAWN staff acting as a lead naturalist, our goal was to support more diverse leadership development in our parks. Thanks to the California Coastal Commission and the Whale Tail grant program, we did just that.

SPAWN California Naturalist

Read more about SPAWN’s Naturalist Programs.

Launching off our partnership with LO, we recruited leaders from California State Parks, Nature in the City, Yes Nature to Neighborhoods and other amazing non-profits from throughout the Bay Area to join this unique certification.

“This course changed my life.” – participant feedback

Each year SPAWN offers professional development for public school teachers. This year, thanks to NOAA’s BWET program we extended the certification to science teachers working in a range of urban schools from Oakland to Sacramento.

At a time when our state is shifting to a new set of science standards, we created an opportunity to show science teachers how to easily use meaningful outdoor experiences to build scientific literacy.

“I walked away with a motivation to find ways to include the aspect of advocacy and action in my year-long watershed ecology theme.” – participant feedback

When this magical combination of movers and shakers united for a week of inspiration and inquiry, deep connections to people and place were formed.

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During the 8 day intensive we learned from an expert geologist while sitting on top of the San Andreas Fault. We tested the science behind climate change with hands on experiments. We explored redwood-lined creeks with coho salmon biologists. Experts shared the most up-to-date research on redwood ecology and carbon storage.

Banding birds, weaving tule baskets, tracking animals, or surveying tide pools, we crammed a lot of science experience into one week.

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What is unique about this course is the sponsorship to train influential leaders already working in organizations and schools across the Bay Area. We had 25 of the Bay Area’s leading educators meeting with experts, sharing resources, honing content knowledge and collaborating to build one epic public event.

On Saturday September 23rd, 2017 our amazing naturalists will reconvene at Hearts Desire beach at Tomales Bay State Park to Celebrate California Coastal Clean Up Week with the public.

We invite you to join SPAWN and Latino Outdoors for a hike, bring a family picnic, try out the new State Parks Junior Rangers activity book, or enter the high school spoken word competition.

Learn more about Celebrate the Coast event here: https://seaturtles.org/events/celebrate-the-coast-with-turtle-island/

“I loved that we had lecture, then group activities/assignments, and then field trips. This learning technique touched on visual, physical, and verbal styles, which helped me to understand and retain the information. I had a week of training prior to this certification course and that training doesn’t even come close to what Catie provided as a CA Naturalist Certification facilitator. This training was so advantageous to my job as a volunteer coordinator. I loved interacting with all of the participants of our cohort and learning from each other. I really enjoyed the group activities, field trips, and all the donations from the presenters. I came back to work with a tote full of manuals, cones, redwood cross-sections, a scat bandana, and a lifetime of experiences/memories and connections to educators and organizations working in the same environment.”

SPAWN California Naturalist

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