K-12 Environmental Education

K-12 education
Schoolchildren visiting Valentine Camp for a lesson on natural history. Image credit: Lobsang Wangdu

The UC Natural Reserve System is often described as a “classroom without walls.” That description is especially true for the thousands of schoolchildren who visit reserve sites every year. Stepping out onto soft forest duff, breathing in the aroma of pine resin, and hearing the burble of a nearby stream, teaches students more about the interconnectedness of a landscape than a dozen pages in a textbook.

A reserve field trip is just as vivid to a first grader learning about insects as a tenth grader learning about ecosystems. Spying on snowy plovers nesting on a beach, or counting the types of wildflowers blooming in one field, gives students a sense of the rich tapestry of nature.