“Mr President, We Heard You. We Turned Off the TV”
By Conway Jones
Fifty fourth grade students from Peres Elementary School in Richmond stayed overnight at NatureBridge’s Headlands Institute near Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands, adjacent to the Golden Gate Bridge. The two-day Peres visit to NatureBridge was fully sponsored by a local, anonymous foundation, including round trip transportation.
Kai West, a NatureBridge educator, led part of the expedition over two days at the Marin Headlands. The trip included ‘discovery hikes’ over several of the trails to visit various sites. Each trail provided exposure for the children to a wide variety of wildlife, animals, birds, trees and plant life.
On the first day, the students experienced the twenty foot high swells of the Pacific Ocean. For many of the youth, this was their first exposure to ‘nature’s classroom.’
Peres Elementary teacher Megan Gardner was a chaperone on this two-day field trip. Interestingly enough, the protocols for discipline and order that she had established in her classroom at Peres carried over into the wilds at the Marin Headlands. Her fourth graders demonstrated the same disciplined character in the wild that they were accustomed to in her Richmond classroom.
This was a great opportunity for our students,” Gardner said. “We are incredibly grateful to be here. The kids have had an amazing time and have learned so much about life science.” “The students say this is the best thing that has happened to them, and that their lives have been changed forever.”
NatureBridge is the largest residential environmental education partner of the National Park Service. Founded in 1971 and based in San Francisco, its mission is to inspire personal connections to the natural world and responsible actions to sustain it.
Kate Hamilton, Development Director of NatureBridge, said, “Many of these students had never seen the beach before, and they were able to hike, sleep overnight, and learn science in one of the Bay Area’s most beautiful places.” She continued, “The experiences these students had with NatureBridge will provide them with the foundation they need to protect the future of our natural environment.”
Each year, NatureBridge serves more than 40,000 participants through field science, youth leadership and teacher training programs. For information about NatureBridge, visit: www.naturebridge.org.