Sagehen Creek Field Station's Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC) program has won the 2011 Human Diversity Award from the Organization of Biological Field Stations. The award recognizes programs that increase the involvement of underrepresented groups in field science.
The ARC program brings motivated high school English language learners into natural environments as a means to improve their literacy, academic, and leadership skills.
The lodging and classroom facilities at UC NRS sites have served as base camps for ARC's outdoor programs since the program's inception at Sagehen Creek in 2004.
ARC's 40-day summer course takes students on outdoor adventures such as backpacking, rock climbing, kayaking, white water rafting. Between trips, students work to improve their English skills and learn about the environment while staying at a UC NRS reserve. ARC's year-round programs include tutoring, writing workshops, and weekend wilderness retreats.
Sagehen Creek Field Station encompasses 8,000 acres on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada near Lake Tahoe. It provides cabins, a laboratory, and teaching facilities for scientists, students, and other users on USDA Forest Service land.
A second ARC outdoor program is now based at the NRS's Yosemite Field Station. Managed by UC Merced, the facility is located in the Wawona district of Yosemite National Park.
Over 90 percent of participants have passed the California High School Exit Exam, while 77 percent of participants are attending college.
ARC programs are open to students in the North Tahoe/Truckee area, Merced County, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Organization of Biological Field Stations supports environmental research, education, and public understanding of the natural environment. Its 226 member field stations and marine laboratories are located around the world.