Students in Fillmore Unified School District showed that sustainability begins in their own back yards in the award-winning School Yard Habitat and River Restoration Project.
This innovative project brings science alive for students at Sierra High School, a continuation school. Led by science teacher Laura Todis and Director of Maintenance Bob Sube, students research and identify native plants and animal species, maintain the School Yard Habitat and restore the School Farm's River Habitat.
The program implements STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) through hands-on activities. Students not only study the plants and animals in the outdoor habitat on campus, but also regularly weed and water it, taking responsibility for maintaining the ecosystem's balance.
Learning takes place off campus, too, on the District's own river bed property. Using binoculars, field guides and magnifying glasses, students take water samples and conduct lab tests. Instead of just reading about water quality in a textbook, they do their own examinations on pH, nutrient content and organisms present in the river.
Additionally, Sierra High students share what they have learned with other students and teachers, as well as local biologists. By striving to meet the high standards of science experts, students have the opportunity to be considered for an internship with the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Over 150 students have participated in the School Yard Habitat and River Restoration Projects since it began in 2010.
"Our firm works with districts throughout the state that strive to implement green curricula, reduce energy consumption and explore renewable energy options for their schools," said Jan Tomsky, Managing Partner of Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost. "We believe supporting student programs that encourage resource conservation is a great way to thank public education students and professionals and to invest in a healthy future and a greener California. On behalf of the F3 Student Awards, I offer sincere congratulations to the Fillmore Unified School District."
Photo above, from left to right:
Partner Peter Fagen, Managing Partner Jan Tomsky, CSBA Vice President Chris Ungar, Sierra High School Science Teacher Laura Todis, Sierra High School Principal Cynthia Frutos, CSBA President Cindy Marks, and CSBA Executive Director Vernon Billy.
To get more information about the Golden Bell Awards, including eligibility criteria and timeline for judging, see the CSBA web site.