Since July 2022, the Center for Community and Citizen Science has been steadily working on a project in collaboration with the UC Davis Center for Regional Change to build capacity for environmental education (EE) and community and citizen science (CCS) in the Clear Lake region.
Building on the research in Clear Lake from Center for Regional Change, the 2-year project began by orienting the project team with the various organizations involved in EE and CCS in the region. The publicly available information helped us start to identify community members representing nonprofits, Tribes, government agencies, and more engaged in work addressing environmental issues. Conversations with these community members have so far helped us gain an understanding of priorities, challenges, and regional connections that will allow the project to better serve the region.
Community needs and priorities are central to our development of EE and CCS programs and resources for the Clear Lake region, Next, we will synthesize our findings and use what we learn about priorities, gaps, and existing resources and activities to develop lakewide environmental education programming for youth to be shared with partners throughout the region. Our plan is to pilot this EE programming with a group of informal education practitioners and gain feedback to refine it so that it can be adopted across the region by end of the project’s second year.
We also will develop a proposal for ways that our team can support development and expansion of CCS activities related to Clear Lake restoration, which could involve participants of any age. This could involve coordination across related projects, development of new initiatives, or other forms of advice and support for groups that want to involve the public in research and monitoring.
The project’s first six months of relationship-building and information gathering culminated in a visit to Clearlake in December with members of the project team. Ryan Meyer, Peggy Harte, and Sarah Angulo from the Center for Community and Citizen Science, along with Jonathan London and Alyssa Nelson from the Center for Regional Change, represented the project at the Blue Ribbon Committee for the Rehabilitation of Clear Lake (BRC)’s open house. We heard brief overviews of the other projects approved for funding by the BRC. Afterwards, we were able to meet many of the community members we have spoken with so far virtually, as well as meet new faces and start new connections. We were grateful for this opportunity and returned to our office inspired and reinvigorated in this work!
Before the open house, we also made stops to Clear Lake State Park and Anderson Marsh State Historic Park. These stops were in an effort to orient ourselves within the watershed, view some of the interpretive materials, and make connections with our learning. At Clear Lake State Park, we got a glimpse of the great lake access, resources like the visitor center and education pavilion, and trails.
Our stop at Clear Lake State Park was brief so we could meet with Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association (AMIA)’s Henry Bornstein. Henry walked us along the trails and shared the park’s natural history, cultural history of the Koi Nation, and the work of AMIA in EE programming. It was a beautiful winter day to see some of the park’s incredible birds, trees, pathways of Cache Creek, and floodplains. Talking with community members on the land greatly inspired us as we dive into the next phase of the project!