August 10, 2023 Newsletter

In this month’s newsletter, we spoke with Marie Bobias, director of environmental education at Walden West Outdoor School & Summer Camp in Santa Clara County. This renowned summer camp is on a mission to provide equitable access to the wonders of science and nature for emerging leaders of tomorrow. By fostering collaboration among peers, the camp cultivates essential leadership, relationship building, and environmental stewardship skills. All of these values and practices are well aligned to the CAELI Theory of Action.

Read on as we share stories from Walden West, updates from the CAELI District Innovation Hub, and resources and opportunities from environmental literacy leaders from across California.

Meghan Lynch teaches a stewardship lesson to the Leaders in Training. After working to clear out invasive species in the garden, campers write answers to “What do you love and hope to never lose to climate chaos?” on Climate Ribbons and add them to the garden fence.

Walden West Outdoor School & Summer Camp is Creating Change Through Environmental Education: An Interview with Marie Bobias

For today’s young people, sustainability and climate are a top priority. For students, the environment holds the key to their futures, although schools are often ill-equipped to cultivate that connection. In this interview, Marie Bobias shares her experiences as a classroom teacher and how they inform her work as a director for the camp. Marie also discusses the importance of equity in environmental education, detailing efforts to incorporate inclusive practices and ensure every student’s voice is heard and valued.

Read more here.

District Innovation Hub Wraps Webinar Series

The District Innovation Hub wrapped up its first season of the District Innovation Webinar Series. Each month, inspiring district leaders and partners shared insight into their work and hosted candid breakout room conversations about how they championed environmental literacy and sustainability and overcame challenges in their own settings. Nate Ivy of Fremont Unified School District, who served as the series organizer and MC said, “People have been working really hard in their districts. It’s great to have a place to highlight their work and draw in like-minded folks looking for creative ways to have an impact.” You can tune into recordings of the series here.

The Hub is currently seeking presenters for its fall webinar series. If you’re interested in being a presenter, please contact Ten Strands’ director of strategic partnerships, Amy Frame, at The Hub is also looking for presenters at this year’s Green California Schools and Higher Education Summit in Pasadena in October. If you’re interested in presenting at the summit, fill out the form here.

Innovation Hub Spotlight

CAELI’s innovation hubs represent a growing community of people dedicated to environmental literacy and outdoor education for youth. Here, we introduce one of our innovation hub leaders!

Opportunities, Events, and News

  • In this resource, the director of strategic partnerships at Ten Strands, Amy Frame, makes the case for the use of schoolyard forests to support academics across grades and subjects. Schoolyard forests protect students from heat while offering them an inviting space for outdoor learning, physical activities, social gatherings, and play while providing respite from extreme heat. Schoolyard forests can also foster a strong connection with nature and deepen students’ understanding of their local environment. Read more here.
  • The Lawrence Hall of Science is working to conduct a first-of-its-kind landscape study to assess the state of environmental instruction and education across California. Once researchers at The Lawrence Hall of Science have finalized the survey, CAELI will recruit teachers and conduct the survey online starting this fall. The goal of the survey is to track progress and measure improvements in environmental literacy in California. Learn more here.
  • Join The Watershed Project’s team as a full-time education and green schoolyards manager! If you are passionate about environmental education and creating sustainable green spaces for schools, this is the perfect opportunity for you. Play a vital role in developing and implementing educational programs while also spearheading the transformation of schoolyards into eco-friendly havens for students. Feel free to reach out to program director Anne Bremirez with any questions. Learn more and apply here.
  • Do you or someone you know have a passion for nature and sharing its benefits with others? Join Parks California’s unique, remote-based seven-month programs and grants internship! This paid internship offers you the chance to contribute to Parks California’s mission of providing equitable access to state parks and preserving public spaces. Gain hands-on experience with community engagement, marketing, communications, and social media. Apply now by submitting your cover letter and resume here.
  • The Bezos Earth Fund has announced a momentous $400 million commitment to enhance green spaces in underserved urban communities across the U.S. The Greening America’s Cities initiative will introduce more parks, trees, and community gardens, aiming to foster environmental health and community well-being. Learn more about the available grants specific to Los Angeles here.
  • Hazardous environmental conditions brought on by climate change are bringing vulnerabilities in school infrastructure to light. With wildfire smoke, heat, drought, and flooding posing a greater threat to students’ health, state policymakers and advocacy groups are seeking to make California’s schools a safer refuge from polluted air. In this article featuring CAELI Jonathan Klein, read more about the greater need for schools to adapt to climate change.