An essential part of The Wildlands Conservancy's mission, and the sole intent of FUNdKIDS, is to provide disadvantaged children with positive outdoor experiences and environmental education. This combination promotes understanding and respect for themselves, others and their natural surroundings.
TWC has established partnerships that enable us to provide outdoor education and experience to thousands of children every year. Among our programs and partners are the following:
The Wildlands Conservancy's Outdoor Education Programs
Oak Glen Preserve, San Bernardino County
During the 2008-2009 school year, more than 11,000 children participated in the Outdoor Discovery Program (ODP) at Oak Glen Preserver. this 5-1/2 hour outdoor education experience allows each child to have a chance to learn, explore and gain a new respect for nature while having fun. The program is open to all third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade classes in Riverside and San Bernardino County schools.
To accommodate the Outdoor Discovery Program, The Wildlands Conservancy built a two-mile trail at Los Rios Rancho for use as an outdoor classroom. For many children, this is their first experience using the natural world around them as a classroom. The trail meanders through an evergreen forest, past ponds that have migrating ducks in winter, and under the canopy of a deciduous black oak forest that opens onto a boardwalk that has many butterflies when the wetlands are in bloom. This type of atmosphere accelerates the learning process through the use of all the senses and inspires children to want to learn more about their environment and the preservation of it.
Depending on the grade level, students may experience micro habitats, constellations and legends, pland and animal adaptations, pond explorations and assessments, food pyramids, rock cycle, making rock and mineral boards, water cycle, water quality, use of divining rods to locate water, and crafts related towards the activities. All grade levels include a Conservation and Appreciation component with topics and activities about saving landscapes and enjoying nature's beauty wherever one may be.
Desert Preserves, Riverside and San Bernardino
The Wildlands Conservancy's Whitewater and Mission Creek Preserves have hosted more then 3,500 students from the Palm Springs and Morongo Valley Unified School Districts since outdoor education programming began during the 2007-2008 school year. The program at the Desert Preserves focuses on watershed ecology and water awareness. Also hosted at the Whitewater Preserve are family programs which provide families with the opportunity to discover and learn about and experience the outdoors together to have a better appreciation for their natural surroundings.
Wind Wolves Preserve, Kern County
Through its spectacular scenic beauty and rich diversity of life, Wind Wolves Preserve has the power to inspire people to preserve their natural and cultural heritage. The preserve offers a free environmental education program. Educators have a choice of programs focusing on Native American lifeways, local history, and ecology programs for each grade level, which complement the State's science curriculum. Since it's inception in 1998, more than 125,000 school children have participated in Wind Wolves Preserve's outdoor education program with an average of over 10,000 students a year.
For more information about The Wildlands Conservancy's outdoor
education programs, visit us at
UCLA UNICAMP'S CAMP WOODSEY
In 2010, UCLA UniCamp will be partnering with The Wildlands Conservancy to host its residential outdoor summer camp, Camp Woodsey, at TWC's Bluff Lake Preserve.
About UCLA UniCamp
Each year, UniCamp inspires nearly 1,000 children from low-income families to envision brighter futures by sending them, along with 350 student volunteers, to its residential outdoor summer camp.
The first session at Camp Woodsey on Bluff Lake Preserve started in June 2010. Week long sessions for kids and family weekends ran through August 2010.
For more information on UCLA UniCamp and Camp Woodsey, visit www.campwoodsey.org.
About Bluff Lake Preserve
The Wildlands Conservancy purchased Camp Bluff Lake, one of the West's premier mountain youth facilities, 2001. Located at 7,600 feet, this 120-acre property includes a 25-acre lake seen in the original movie "Parent Trap." Surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest, the property includes Southern California's finest intact mountain marsh and meadow complexes with three endangered plants. Mature forests of lodgepole pine, Jeffery pine and white fir surround the meadow. TWC restored habitat, fixed erosion problems, and completely renovated 15 cabins, restroom buildings, staff headquarters and a dining hall with native stone and wood construction. Over 30 nonprofits have used the camp since it's acquisition by TWC, including Los Angeles County Outdoor Science School and UCLA UniCamp.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY OUTDOOR SCIENCE SCHOOL
Unique new sights, sounds, smells, and emotions immediately bombard the senses of students who get off a school bus in the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains for a week-long education adventure. This is a brand new experience that they will never forget. Students from Los Angeles sometimes catch a glimpse of the local mountains through the haze, but now they are going to spend a week living there - learning important concepts of science education through direct experience. Together with their classroom teachers, students will observe, describe, compare, organize information, and make connections between experience that lead to conceptual understanding of some of the most important science concepts they can ever learn. The experience binds students and teachers together in a way that perhaps no other experience can.
Through a generous grant from The Wildlands Conservancy, tens of thousands of students are able to explore the real world of science, right in nature's classroom - an opportunity that they otherwise would almost certainly never have. The Wildlands Conservancy pays for full tuition and transportation so that students from the most poverty-impacted areas of Los Angeles can participate in the Los Angeles County Outdoor Science School. At three sites in the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests, students are able to get away from the concrete and asphalt that covers most of their world, and learn about nature hands-on. The experience changes students, and their teachers, in ways that impact school and personal success. This is important. This makes a difference. This is exciting.
ORANGE COUNTY OUTDOOR SCIENCE SCHOOL AND INSIDE THE OUTDOORS PROGRAMS
Despite the relative proximity of the mountains, the desert and the ocean, many children from low-income homes in highly urbanized neighborhoods have never visited the natural areas in and around Los Angeles. To introduce them to the beauty and peace that are close at hand, The Wildlands Conservancy embarked upon a cooperative effort with the Orange County Department of Education's Inside the Outdoors Program.
The Wildlands Conservancy pays for the full tuition and transportation for a day long science-based field trip for children from schools serving low-income populations. From tide pools to mountain canyons, fourth and fifth graders learn about and experience nature's wonders. They are usually enthralled the moment they step off the bus. Children often declare, "This was the best day of my life."
Another arm of the Orange County Outdoor Education Program is the Outdoor Science School. Through this program, children stay at one of the six sites in the nearby San Bernardino Mountains for five days of instruction in a natural setting. Accompanied by their teachers and visited by their principal, they enjoy the traditional activities of hiking, stargazing and campfires. The curriculum is structured according to the State Science Framework.
For over four years, 119,000 children from San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties have enjoyed these two programs.