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San Diego is home to remarkably diverse landscapes and habitat types, and our mild Mediterranean climate makes this an ideal place to recreate outdoors and connect with nature year-round. Unfortunately, not everyone in San Diego County enjoys the same access to these natural spaces.
Children who live in San Diego’s “park-poor” neighborhoods suffer physically, psychologically, and academically from a lack of access to green space. Children in these communities also miss out on the opportunity to learn about nature and experience its benefits first-hand.
Numerous studies have shown that the more people understand about the environment, the more likely they are to protect it.
The goal of our education programming is to ensure as many kids as possible enjoy the opportunity to learn about and personally experience our wild landscapes. This is how EDI both builds equity in our communities, and supports the next generation of environmental stewards.
EDI is deeply integrated into the school districts of San Diego County, where classroom teachers often request our support and expertise in delivering science-based outdoor education lessons to students. We offer a suite of education programs that both align with Next Generation Science Standards and engage students in meaningful experiences in nature.
Our Elementary Field Trip programs align with 4th grade Next Generation Science Standards and provide hands-on activities that support classroom learning and direct connections with the land. Field trips take place on conserved lands managed by partner agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Service, California Department of Wildlife, and Endangered Habitats Conservancy. Students engage in habitat restoration projects, including planting California native grasses, seed collection, and pollinator habitat restoration. Students hike on conserved land where they learn about the diversity of plants and animals that live here and how our actions can impact the land. We focus on real-world problems such as water pollution and climate change and allow students to explore real-world solutions starting in their own backyards and neighborhoods.
When we are unable to meet in person to get students out into nature, we bring nature home to them! New in 2020, our Nature at Home Science Kits align with Next Generation Science Standards and have so far provided over 370 students with tools they can use to continue their science inquiries at home. Our first set of kits were themed after “Plants and Seeds” and included nature journaling supplies, soil and native seeds to plant at home, magnifying lenses, and loads of science lessons and activities. EDI is now expanding this program to serve additional schools and students. Our second set of kits will be themed “Water Wonders” and in addition to an array of self-guided activities, these will also include an online lesson with EDI staff to assist teachers in completing science curriculum requirements.
If you are an educator who wishes to participate in this program, please contact our Education Director, Vicky Bonnett, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new program this year will connect students and their families to nature through a variety of activities such as kayaking, hiking, camping, etc. Check back for more details!
EDI is always looking for ways to support families to get outside and explore the natural world together!
Our Storybook Hike provides an outdoor adventure that focuses on family connection, literacy, and health and wellness. EDI has hand-picked nature-themed stories that will inspire everyone to explore more! Storybook pages are posted at several stations along a trail, allowing everyone to enjoy a story as they hike and take in the natural world around them. Our first Storybook Hike is currently installed at Crestridge Ecological Reserve and we hope to have new locations soon. New stories will be featured periodically throughout the year so be sure to check our website and social media for updates. Come take a hike with us!
Children’s books are a great way to inspire kid art and we have selected a list of books that will be sure to inspire nature lovers of all ages.
Our Storybook Art Hour provides time for children and their families to enjoy an engaging story, and an opportunity to express their feelings through various art mediums using the natural world as inspiration. Event locations are throughout the county and change frequently. Space is limited, so check our website and social media frequently for upcoming meeting times.