Teaching Like the Earth Matters

Last quarter, I became a PICA intern under Bee’s supervision. The initial goal of my internship was to facilitate the planning and logistics of hosting a field trip for K-12 students from Pajaro Valley Unified School District at the Sustainable Living Center. Our field trip would be a chance for Environmental Studies students with an interest in environmental education to develop their pedagogies. Bee had bigger plans for us. 

Justine, a converted math major with brilliant ideas; Jen, the pragmatic expert on education; Me, the lead intern; Bethany, the kinesthetic learner with a knack for artwork; Jenny, the much needed comedic relief with a strong work ethic.

With Bee’s innate ability to challenge us and hold us accountable, our one goal became many goals: raising funds to sponsor the entire field trip, creating a salsa-themed preliminary lesson to introduce our guests to food system and sustainability science, learning methods for teaching to English Language Learners, and implementing experiential learning techniques. Luckily, I was a part of a team of incredible interns who were up to the challenge. Whenever Bee gave us a direction or idea, we followed through. Our group became a support system for all of us to rely on, and we were able to take our goals further than we’d ever imagined.

 The interns strike a pose at Watsonville Charter School of Arts after implementing their Pre-Lesson: “From Soil to Salsa”.

May 17th was the day of our first field trip. Shannon Hammond arrived with her class of 6th graders from Watsonville Charter School of the Arts. The kids were guided through the Sustainable Living Center one-on-one with college students, exploring the flora and fauna using a “Field Guide to the SLC”. We divided into small groups and travelled through the Compost Piles to the Propagation Center to learn the ingredients and work that go into gardening. At the Foundational Roots Garden, students learned that pollinators also work very hard to help plants grow, and went on a flower adaptation scavenger hunt. The day’s work culminated for the students at the herb spiral, where they made a snack of salsa using fresh herbs, and discussed the take home messages of sustainability.

Next week we look forward to another field trip, this time with a group of bilingual 5th graders from Alianza Charter School.

Jasleen will be graduating from the Environmental Studies Department this Spring alongside many of her Environmental Education Senior Seminar cohorts.

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