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SAN DIEGO NWR COMPLEX: SoCal Urban Wildlife Refuge Project Brings Environmental Education to Under-served Areas
California-Nevada Offices , November 10, 2016
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Vicky Bonnett showing students the Enviroscape watershed model during the Science Club at the Spring Valley Library.
Vicky Bonnett showing students the Enviroscape watershed model during the Science Club at the Spring Valley Library. - Photo Credit: Zoe Bonnett/USFWS Volunteer
A young student holds up her bee mask she created, after learning about the importance of pollination.
A young student holds up her bee mask she created, after learning about the importance of pollination. - Photo Credit: Earth Discovery Institute

EL CAJON – The best nature learning happens outdoors, and that’s just where these students get to be from now on. At Anza Elementary School, students use their new Schoolyard Habitat for outdoor learning, a habitat they planted themselves.

 

During the past two weeks of October, 13 classes ranging from Kindergarten/Transitional Kinder to second grade were guided by instructors Vicky Bonnett and Mary Duffy from the Earth Discovery Institute (EDI) to explore seed characteristics, learn about pollinators, and native oaks and acorns. The second graders were encouraged to make their own observations like real scientists do. The first graders had a very interactive activity by making their own “proboscis” to collect pollen and nectar from flowers, and then make a native bee mask to wear for fun. It’s safe to say the students got to use all their senses while outside studying seeds and pollinators. They even made California poppy “seedballs” to share with family and friends.

All of the activities at Anza are in alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards:
•Kindergarten: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: Animals, Plants, and their Environment,
•First Grade: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes, and
•Second Grade: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems.

EDI is an important partner in helping the San Diego NWR Complex and the SoCal Urban Wildlife Refuge Project reach its formal and informal environmental education objectives.

SPRING VALLEY – Nature learning also continued indoors at the Spring Valley Library on October 26, when 16 students from schools near the library participated in the “EDI Explorers Science Club.” The students learned what a watershed is and how human actions affect the quality of water in and around our homes, neighborhoods and cities. EDI instructor Vicky Bonnett used the Enviroscape Watershed Model so the kids could use various materials as pretend pollutants (imagined as sprinkles) found in the city, and how rain and other water runoff (spray bottle with water) can move trash and litter quickly through the watershed. Students were questioned how they could keep trash out of the watershed and they might share that message with their family and friends.

Each student received a handout to take home that highlights positive actions for watershed health and resources, and information about EDI and its partners at the San Diego NWR Complex.


More information on the SoCal Urban Refuge Project can be found here:
https://www.fws.gov/refuge/san_diego_bay/urban.html
Contact Info: Lisa Cox, 619.476.9150 ext. 106, lisa_cox@fws.gov
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