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Two half-day coastal-canyon activities for two 4th grade classes, with hands-on exploration and restoration that match curricula.
Please invest in another year’s worth of smarter, outward-bounding students from a Title One, dual-language school. Ten years ago, Golden Hill Elementary 4th graders were the first to transform wetlands outings in San Diego. 32nd Street Canyon Task Force and San Diego Canyonlands then convinced the Ocean Discovery Institute that water and ocean stewardship begins upstream and near home. All but one year since then, Golden Hill 4th graders and their teachers have had a priceless introduction to our region’s flora, fauna and dynamic ephemeral waterways . . . right next door to their neighborhood school.All aspects of the event are tied to California curricular standards, which makes it easier for teachers and the school to participate.
Not until Day Two does the “Kids in 32nd Street Canyon” program equip students with binoculars, clipboards and habitat restoration tools for their outdoor exploration. On Day One they learn how these accouterments can help make the nearby open space a more robust, self-sustaining park if combined with their attention. The program’s first half day is indoors, where 4th graders learn the basic connections between water quality, vegetation, habitat and human activity, as well as how these connections influence marine health and, therefore, food supplies.
The next morning, knowledgeable ecologists welcome the students “into the wild” at 32nd Street Canyon. There, they practice spotting, identifying, and even writing about small wildlife. They see how water flows from our neighborhoods into the streambed and from there to San Diego Bay, as well as how plants clean pollutants from water as it flows. On a guided tour, they learn about “plant communities” and hear stories about the birds and mammals that enjoy the length of the canyon. A restoration professional helps them do a restoration activity, such as seeding or planting. And they observe the connection between San Diego’s open space and their own community, with evidence of municipal water infrastructure, right in the canyon. ‘Kids in 32nd Street Canyon” doesn’t just draw children into nature. Working with their senses, intellects and hands, they become conscientious stewards who carry the message home.
4th graders are influential!
Golden Hill Elementary, within the San Diego Unified School District