Programs and Projects
Earth Discovery Institute’s educational program was inspired by California’s Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI), signed into law in 2003. This landmark legislation aims at increasing environmental literacy throughout the State’s K-12 educational system. It recognizes that our health, economy, and quality of life are entirely dependent upon a healthy, functioning environment. It is also inspired by the California Department of Education CALSERV initiative, promoting service-learning is an instructional reform strategy through which students’ civic responsibility and academic success are tied to service to their communities.
Ecology Kids Serve (EKS): Earth Discovery Institute is partnering with neighboring Cajon Valley Union School District in a 6-year State of California Department 0f Education CALSERV grant. With generous funding we have received from the California Department of Education , we are providing 1500 4th-6th grade students with unique learning and service experiences at Crestridge Ecological Reserve. These activities will be developed to improve student academic performance in science, and to provide students with opportunities to “make a difference” in their neighborhoods, schools, and communities.
Restoration, Montioring, and Maintenance
The Earth Discovery Institute is managing projects under contract with the Endangered Habitats Conservancy and according to the Crestridge Habitat Management and Monitoring Plan. The Plan’s major goals are:
- Document the status of MSCP covered species and other sensitive resources in the reserve to help prioritize management actions and to assess the effectiveness of management actions.
- Maintain populations of MSCP covered species and other sensitive resources
- Monitor habitats and ecological processes to aid in identifying threats to ecosystem integrity or health and to guide adaptive management of the reserve
- Enhance and restore degraded habitats in the reserve
The Earth Discovery Institute and Cal Fire are working closely to develop and implement a specific plan for wildland fire prevention, wildland fire suppression, pre-fire treatment, and post-fire treatment at Crestridge Ecological Reserve. The goals of the fire management plan at Crestridge are to:
- Ensure the safety of the surrounding residential community.
- Maintain a “natural” fire cycle.
- Control invasive weed species.
Pre-fire treatment of the land, in the form of fire breaks and fuel management, as well as enforcement of allowable land uses will help to prevent catastrophic wildland fires at Crestridge. Although fire is an integral part of the ecosystem processes on Crestridge, overly frequent fires may result in shifts in native species composition, a loss of certain native species, or habitat type conversions that favor nonnative species. Maintaining an appropriate fire cycle will assist in achieving a diverse age structure of vegetation communities and will prevent the habitat from becoming too mature and dense. This, in turn, will reduce the fuel load and thus reduce the chances of large uncontrollable fire events.