SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Amid fall colors and squeals of children, South Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition hosted Wonders of Water at Tahoe Paradise Park last week. STEEC, a collaborative network of over 20 local environmental agencies and nonprofits, brings every kindergarten through 5th grade student at Lake Tahoe Unified School District to the park in the fall.
Students rotate through three educational stations where they learn about the environment and their impact on water and wildlife.
“My favorite part was carrying the big buckets of water,” said first grader, Sage Thomsen.
The field trip includes a range of hands-on activities, including a first-grade station where students haul water from the ‘well’ to their home, like their ancestors. The lesson ends with the question, do you think you use more, or less water than your great, great, great grandparents? What can you do to conserve?
First graders also pretended to be water droplets, moving through the water cycle, and making a bracelet with each stop along the way.
“I appreciate the opportunity to work with such incredible partners and to encourage students to explore outside,” said Emilie Comer, CivicSpark Fellow at South Tahoe Public Utility District.
The students thrived in these classrooms without walls and soaked up lessons about their local environment. One kindergartener finished their lesson on pollution and exclaimed, “I love science!”
The fifth-grade program featured a fire extinguisher prop with South Lake Tahoe Fire and Rescue that quickly became a hit. Fifth graders enjoyed extinguishing a fire and learning an important life skill.
The hands-on lessons follow the state’s science standards and build from one year to the next. STEEC programs reach thousands of local K-12th grade kids every year, including underserved students who are not traditionally connected to the outdoors. STEEC’s goal is to provide programs that foster an understanding of natural resources, knowing that these young minds will one day be leaders in our community.
To learn more about the South Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition or to volunteer, visit steec.us.