Welcome StrawBerry Point Stewards!
On Native Land:
~Strawberry Point School is located on the ancestral lands of the Coast Miwok, Ohlone, and Southern Pomo Peoples~
These groups continue to be the first stewards of our surrounding animal/plant communities.
What is a Steward?Stewards are people who care for the land they are on.
- Because of our close proximity to natural spaces such as the Richardson Bay Wildlife preserve, as well as our PTA funded garden spaces/ outdoor classroom, our students get the chance to learn from our planet during the school day. Each student will get to participate in a "garden and nature" class twice a month where they build relationship to the land, to the food they grow, and to the animals who live here.
- Being a good steward, is like being a good friend. We must listen to and watch for the needs of the plants, animals, and water of our community, just like we would do for a friend.
- Our goal is to grow a community of future stewards who involve our plant, animal, and water communities in their decision making processes, for a healthier planet.
Why Environmental Education?
When we get to know something, we can begin to care about it: Our garden/nature classes and green team clubs, offer students the opportunity to get to know our planet again. As we continue to face many challenges connected to a changing earth, we can prepare our future generations by fostering relationships back to our animal/plant/water communities.
An Investment in the curious mind: Investing a portion of our students school time into environmental educaton, is an investment into making time for discoviers, creativity, community building, and place based learning. During their outdoor classes, students get the chance to investigate their own questions, and follow their curiosity.
Social Emotional Learning: During our classes students will work together and build relationships. The garden is also a theraputic space for students to unwind. Whether students need to rest or to exhaust some energy after sitting at a desk, the garden is a great place for students to evaluate their own needs and to decide how they can make the most of their time outdoors (self regulation).How did this program come about?
This program, supported by the School District and the PTA, is a requirement to maintaining our playing fields. A little over a year ago, the school had no playing field.
Here's a brief history:In the 1990's the playing field fell into disuse when the school temporarily closed, and was classified as a degraded seasonal wetland. In order to re-open the playing field, a very complicated permitting process and comprehensive mitigation program was required. This resulted in seven years of volunteer work by dozens of PTA members, and culminated in the restoration of the playing field, and the creation of 0.7 acres of new tidal and seasonal wetlands, at a total project cost of just under $500,000. Funds were raised by the PTA and the community.
In order to obtain approval from various agencies, the field and wetlands project included a comprehensive environmental education program for the students. It's not just a benefit to our students, it's a requirement to keeping our field, and the environmental education program must be supported by you, the parents. We also need parent volunteers in order to continue our wetland mitigation efforts to maintain the wetlands, and introduce native plant species.
What does the environmental education program offer?
- Naturalist Educator Melicca Gayle is on campus 20 hours a week conducting hands-on weekly sessions with each class. Funded by the PTA.
- Field Activities Coastal plant ecologist Peter Baye, our regular teachers, and parent volunteers conduct field classes in the wetlands and garden. Worm bins, composting, vegetable gardening, plant and animal identification are only a few of the components of these outings.
- The Green Team Recycling Program This is a comprehensive recycling effort run by students and parent volunteers to recycle and compost all lunch materials.
- Field Trips Visits to the Richardson Bay Audubon Center, Marin Headlands, the Bay Model, and Ring Mountain are a few of the activities that are conducted off site.
- The Lunch Bunch Salad Program Students learn to grow (and eat!) their own food in the garden and kindergarteners grow lettuce to create a schoolwide salad in the spring
What can I do to support this program?
Everyone is encouraged to participate in our program and help us be stewards of our environment! Parent volunteers are needed to assist with any of the education programs list above, to help maintain the wetlands, and to plant native species as part of the wetlands restoration. Parent volunteers are needed for each classroom to assist Kiea and the weekly environmental field class. Wetlands and garden work days are scheduled every few months to help maintain the garden, remove invasive species and improve our wetlands. Over the past five years, our wetlands has been planted with hundreds of seedlings to provide a diverse and thriving habitat for our local species.