A River Runs Through It: Educators Get Inspired to Connect their Curriculum to the LA River
Los Angeles exists solely because a river runs through it, but it’s quite possible to live in the city and have never encountered the LA River. Given this, it can be hard to imagine that if managed properly, the Los Angeles river could be one of our city’s most vital resources. This year, Environmental Charter Schools’ (ECS) Green Ambassadors Institute — a learning lab project focused on environmental service learning — set out to change that, teacher by teacher, student by student. Through a two-part series, educators and community leaders participated in hands-on activities and an educational field trip along the Los Angeles River. More than 60 educators from 27 Los Angeles area public, independent and charter schools attended to learn and share best practices in environmental education.
Amidst the most severe drought that most Angelenos have experienced and Governor Brown’s mandate that we reduce our state’s water usage by 25%, the two-day workshop focused heavily on water conservation, rising temperatures, water recycling and drought-tolerant gardening.
PART 1: A Watershed Moment at Environmental Charter High School Teacher- and student-led workshops gathered some of LA’s brightest environmental minds to share their knowledge about water management, conservation and water rights. Participants enjoyed hands-on workshops, curriculum resources as well as the opportunity to network with like-minded colleagues. Highlights included:
- Keynote speaker Mark Gold of UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainabilityinspired us with ideas on how to make Los Angeles 100% water self-sufficient by 2050.
- Workshops and talks from community leaders including: USC’s Joint Educational Project, TreePeople, Heal the Bay, Algalita Marine Research and Education, Hyperion Water Treatment Plant, Surfrider Foundation, The River Project, LA Rooted, West Basin Municipal Water District and From Lot to Spot, among others.
- Teachers from Environmental Charter Middle School provided a framework for connecting local water quality issues to ancient Egypt using math, science, language and history standards to build water filters to solve the Nile river crisis.
- Educators from Environmental Charter High School demonstrated the power of personal action by calculating just how many gallons of water we can capture off our own school and home rooftops, as well as how to create and implement interdisciplinary curriculum focused on water conservation and student action.
Learn more at ecsonline.org