SRT EARTH Academy graduates fifth cohort
May 16, 2023 by Aaron
2022-23 program saw largest enrollment yet
(VISALIA, CA) - SRT's EARTH Academy 2022-23 saw more than 60 students participate and complete the program. This was the largest cohort the program has yet graduated, thanks to increased support from partner schools, including teachers and administration.
"Although we received no grant funding this year, all four participating schools and their school districts jumped in to support the program, and we had larger cohorts than before from all four schools," said Bud Darwin, SRT Education and Volunteer Director. The innovative outdoor education program has received significant funding in prior years from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
EARTH Academy's partner schools include: Monache High School, Porterville Unified School District; Mission Oak High School, Tulare Joint Union High School District; Woodlake High School, Woodlake Union School District; and Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center, a charter school with Tulare County Office of Education.
"This was also the most normal year of EARTH Academy in years, and we were able to return to the original schedule of the program, which was disrupted over the past two years due to COVID," said Outreach and Development Associate Sneha Kumar.
Students participated in the program's eight modules of hands-on, work-based learning. Curriculum is focused around: environmental science; workforce development; career exposure; hands-on learning/work-based learning; and is highly localized and applicable to Tulare County. Field trips occurred on all SRT preserves in Tulare County. Overall, students collectively completed a total of 2000 internship hours.
More than 60 students, friends, and family members attend the program graduation at Kaweah Oaks Preserve on Saturday, May 13. Organizers prepared a celebration and food. SRT personnel led participants through a guided birding experience and interpretive nature hike, as well as introduced them to nature journaling, which is a great practice based on connecting with nature and reflecting on outdoor experiences. Students participating in the program this year, were recognized and received completion certificates. Many students were returning participants, and many plan to return to the program next year.