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Earth Academy EARTH Academy is a year-long, project-based learning program for high school students in Tulare County to learn more about environmental issues in their local communities. Offered by Sequoia Riverlands Trust, E.A.R.T.H. (Ecosystems, Agriculture, Research, Trout in the Classroom, Horticulture) Academy began in 2018 to promote environmental education in underserved communities.

The EARTH Academy curriculum is tailor-made for the students of Tulare County, and focuses on the environmental issues of the area. Students from schools around the county apply to and interview for the program. If chosen, these students - EARTH Technicians - gain a valuable understanding of their local environment, insight into the perspectives of different stakeholders, and hands-on experience working with environmental professionals.

EARTH Academy Program
EARTH Academy Program Pathway & Modules

There are eight modules in the program, each of which starts with a classroom session, where Technicians learn through lectures, videos and in-depth discussions with their peers. After each session, Technicians take a fieldtrip to an SRT preserve or other natural area to apply what they have learned. During these trips, they work side by side with professionals, including scientists, ranchers, educators, and more. They explore and work with the land around them, collect data, and experience first-hand the skills needed for employment in these fields. Technicians will also work with students from other schools, which helps them develop relationships, find common ground and shared interests, and learn from different perspectives.

Each module builds on the last to create a comprehensive view of regional ecosystems and the issues they face. Technicians also have multiple opportunities to practice their public speaking and education skills by sharing the information they learn with other students and community members, many of whom are important stakeholders in the area.  After each module, students debrief with SRT staff to reflect on what they have learned and their response, and think further about how to be proactive in their communities. The EARTH Academy program provides Technicians with insight into their local environment and the world beyond, and gives them the tools they need to make a difference, before they even graduate from high school.

EARTH Academy aims to bring more outdoor education to area schools. Using science education with an emphasis on the environment and the outdoor world, EARTH Academy prepares students for real careers they never knew existed while also giving them spaces to gain experience and skills. 

An instrumental factor in the creation of EARTH Academy is that SRT already serves as a convener in the environmental community, leading the way in regenerative grazing by holding seminars that bring ranchers together to discuss practical issues and solutions to problems. SRT staff also is working on another project that will benefit both farmers and ranchers, testing what to plant on retired lands with minimal water. Our staff's experience in restoring our six nature preserves, plus many partnerships in the environmental, agriculture, educational, business and governmental communities will enable us to create a plan and see it through to completion. No other similar program exists in this area, and SRT's history of excellence, innovation and collaboration make us the ideal group to begin this important work.


The EARTH Academy program was funded for three years by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Thanks to their support, SRT staff were able to pilot the program in 2018, and continue to provide programming through two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program packet below includes more information about the program's background, curriculum, and outcomes. Though SRT does not have grant funding for EARTH Academy for the 2022-2023 school year, our staff is excited to continue providing this program for the fifth consecutive year.

What EARTH Academy students say about the program

Roberto Reyes, sophomore at Lindsay High School
"I learned that I play a big role in the cycles of the world."

"EARTH Academy is awesome and is the highlight of my week whenever we have an event.  It's engaging, fun, and inspirin g." - Michelle Brown, senior at Monache High School, Porterville

"I learned that I play a big role in the cycles of the world."  Roberto Reyes, sophomore at Lindsay High School

"I have learned that I am very interested in learning ways to improve the environment." - Alejandra Cortez, freshman at Linsday High School

"I learned I really like nature!" - Jose Luis Andrade, sophomore at Lindsay High School

"I learned that I like learning about plants and insects more than animals. There's more to learn when it comes to plants." - Kylie Adams, junior at Monache High School

"I've learned how to communicate and work with my peers." - Skye Hunter, junior at Monache High School

"I learned that environmental science and conservation are what I want to dedicate my life to. The work and lessons inspired me. I also learned that there is a wealth of possibility and hope in the Central Valley." - Michelle Brown, senior at Monache High School