Blog entry Sarah Angulo

Project Update: Training Presents Drafted Environmental Education to Support Clear Lake Stewardship

Inspiration and next steps

In March, the UC Davis Center for Community and Citizen Science and Center for Regional Change facilitated a two-day training in Lakeport with educators and partners from across the region as part of the Caring for Clear Lake project. The training is a milestone for the two-year project, approved by Blue Ribbon Committee for the Rehabilitation of Clear Lake and funded by the California Natural Resources Agency.  

The project is working to develop environmental education materials that engage youth in local scientific efforts to restore Clear Lake. In July 2022, the UC Davis team started by inventorying informal education and environmental organizations, publicly available programming and resources, and restoration projects. This helped to orient us to the major environmental issues and the different people working to improve the health of the lake. We then talked to over 50 community members, presented at organizational meetings, attended outreach events, sat in on presentations and community meetings, and organized a Tribal Advisory Committee – all to hear the priorities and needs for environmental education in the region.

The existing resources, participatory science project opportunities, and local and Tribal perspectives on environmental education informed a draft of environmental education materials. This draft was shared with partners for feedback. After revisions, the materials were shared with 17 training participants representing schools, environmental non-profits, after school programs, and agencies.

Because partners were so integral to the project’s foundations, the first day of the training was designed to highlight local efforts to improve the health of Clear Lake and its watershed. Tribal representatives from Robinson Rancheria and Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake brought in Tribal perspectives on caretaking and findings from current Tribal restoration projects. The Lake County Land Trust kindly hosted us at Rodman Preserve and provided context for the scale and restoration work needed. A chance to explore the rainy Preserve together with these partners and participants created space for connecting to each other’s resources and programming and conversations about supporting the good work for youth stewardship of Clear Lake. One training participant shared through a post-training evaluation:

I appreciate how Tribal input was a foundation to this training and curriculum. It truly strengthens the connection to the land and the original stewards. This huge amount of influence is so unique and should be considered the baseline for future programs nation-wide.

Lake County Office of Education generously hosted the second day of the training. Participants had a chance to not only experience the drafted activities for themselves, but also understand how these materials were structured to meet the project goals. Participants engaged with local data and asked their own questions. They learned about our Center’s educational research on key practices for educators and core activities for youth that facilitate youth environmental science agency. Throughout the two days, the UC Davis team demonstrated environmental educational tools to support student sense-making that could easily be integrated in any setting.

The training wasn’t entirely about presenting the research-backed materials of this project to participants. It also was about bringing together a diverse group of people committed to connecting youth with current scientific, Tribal-led, and hyper-local work restoring Clear Lake. Participants and facilitators alike were all inspired by the hope and motivation evident in the two training days. This experience helps to build momentum for comprehensive, regional environmental education across informal and classroom settings. 

The remainder of the funded Caring for Clear Lake project runs through July 2024. The project will utilize the feedback from participants of the training who pilot the materials to make final revisions. A final version of the project’s environmental education materials will be publicly available in July 2024. The UC Davis team is working to secure a local organization committed to housing the project’s materials long-term. We thank the many people who have supported and contributed to this work, and look forward to what the future brings for this project! 

Log in