First-Hand Experience in Real Habitat Restoration

Students give a positive impact on the the environment through the SLEWS Program

Center for Land-Based Learning
 On a recent winter day, 30 Sacramento area high school students shucked on bright yellow waterproof overalls and rubber boots, readying themselves for the day ahead. These students are out in the rural reaches of the county to conduct an environmental restoration project that will have a positive impact on the environment, while at the same time enhancing their classroom learning and developing their leadership skills.

These students are part of the Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship (SLEWS) Program run by the Center for Land-Based Learning. Participants of the SLEWS Program gain first-hand experience in real habitat restoration projects while exploring science concepts and current issues. For many of the students this experience is their first time leaving Sacramento. It’s eye opening and life changing.

“Being able to leave Oak Park or South Sac, it was an eye opening experience that hey, there’s life besides my small neighborhood, that there are things I can work on… if it wasn’t for SLEWS I wouldn’t have gone to college and majored in biology. That exposure was so critical for my success because it was a domino effect,” said a recent program alumnus.

SLEWS aims to make connections for students to college majors and careers in natural resources and agriculture.  To help foster this idea, adult mentors are recruited and trained to work with the students at each field day. A mentor is assigned to a small group and gets to know students in a small group setting. They make sure the restoration work the students are involved in is high enough quality to be successful, but also that the students are having a good experience. They share their college and work experiences with them, which is very useful to the students who are thinking about what to do after high school. In a recent alumni survey, 51% of the students responding reported that SLEWS influenced their higher education and career path.

Since its inception in 2001, SLEWS has served over 6,000 students, completed 200 restoration projects, and planted 65,000 native trees and shrubs. To learn more about the SLEWS Program and the Center for Land-Based Learning CLICK HERE



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