Connecting Children to Nature

by Inside the Outdoors Foundation
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Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Connecting Children to Nature
Garden Rebuild
Garden Rebuild
The Ocean View School District hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony in late 2019 at Golden View Environmental Science School for the re-opening of its refurbished farm, which sits on a 2.5-acre site in Huntington Beach.
 
The event featured tours of the new and improved Golden View Farm, which provides students with multiple, hands-on learning opportunities. District officials say caring for living animals helps children understand life cycles, the reciprocity between animals and humans, and the importance of making responsible choices.
 
Inside the Outdoors Foundation worked with the school to provide funding and volunteers. including students, families, school administrators and Boeing employees, to rebuild the garden by adding new raised beds and native plants.  Tending the garden allows students to plant, harvest and cook nutritious food using natural ingredients. Inside the Outdoors also offered Traveling Scientist programs on the 5 R's: Reduce, Reuse, Rot, Repurpose, and Recycle, where students learn how to be stewards of the environment.
 
Important upgrades made to the farm include new animal enclosures for sheep and goats, an outdoor exercise area for animals, hardscaping and new fencing.
 
“We are so proud of the Golden View Farm and the engaging, real-world experiences it provides our students,” District Superintendent Carol Hansen said. “The wonderful improvements that have been made ensure that both our students and animals thrive in a safe and conducive learning environment.”
Golden View Elementary students participate
Golden View Elementary students participate
Farm animal education
Farm animal education
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Dexter the Oppossum (ITO Program Animal)
Dexter the Oppossum (ITO Program Animal)

Following guidance from the California Department of Public Health, all Southern California school districts closed in March to support state stay-at-home orders and slow the spread of COVID-19. This sent teachers scrambling to provide continued education in the midst of a pandemic. In response to the new normal of distance learning for students, Inside the Outdoors (ITO) quickly adapted our in-person field trip and Traveling Scientist programs to virtual programming that will accommodate at-home learning for the foreseeable future.

Inside the Outdoors is working with district personnel, teachers and parent leaders to ensure lessons and activities are available to all students and their families for distance learning. When students do return to the classroom the virtual and distance learning resources developed will remain available to teachers and will extend the impact of in-person field trip and Traveling Scientist programs.

Distance learning lessons use the same curriculum and activities K-12th grade students experience in our in-person programs and include virtual field trips at one of Inside the Outdoors’ outdoor education sites, web-based Traveling Scientist programs, animal studies, student activities such as nearby nature investigations (what can students do right outside their door), professional learning webinars for teachers, providers, and parents, civic engagement activities, and a photography journal.

An example of virtual programming is The Choice Is Yours: 5 R’s. ITO Program Naturalists livestream lessons, activities and present live animals that educate students on the 5 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Rot, Repurpose and Recycle. Additional experiences may include helping students examine the water cycle and environmental issues related to water with distance learning activities that teach about the importance of conservation, and virtually exploring the pristine environment at Inside the Outdoors’ Rancho Sonado site in Silverado Canyon to identify significant features and patterns in the diverse ecosystem.

All Inside the Outdoors programs support the Next Generation Science Standards and the California Environmental Principles and Concepts (EP&C’s), which allows students to learn classroom content through the lens of human impact on natural systems. Students do not merely memorize facts, they learn academic concepts and processes that can be applied to solve environmental priorities and real-life problems in their local communities.

We deeply value our community and corporate partners as they continue to support Inside the Outdoors programming during this unprecedented time and make distance learning a priority for Southern California students.

Catching wildlife on the trail cam
Catching wildlife on the trail cam

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Coast Live Oak Grove - SNC
Coast Live Oak Grove - SNC

Boeing employees partner with Inside the Outdoors Foundation annually on a number of restoration projects througout the county benefiting schools, students and the community. 

During Boeing's "Spirit of the Holidays" employees are encouraged to volunteer their time on-site and in their community.  Inside the Outdoors Foundation brought projects to Boeing's Huntington Beach offices in December 2019, where employees signed up in shifts to donate their time.  Tree Cookies were created for local students and teachers as name badges, special awards and thank you's for a job well done.

More than 165 local volunteers, including Boeing employees, removed 750 pounds of trash from the Upper Newport Bay estuary on Saturday, January 18, 2020, in honor of MLK Day of Service.  150 bags of trash was collected including golf balls, tennis balls, a basketball, shoes, a gym bag, sofa cushion, bike tire, trunk liner and piles of plastic and Styrofoam debris.

Upper Newport Bay has 13 different habitats and 21 distinct plant communities supporting life at the estuary.  The worst visible threat to Upper Newport Bay is the trash that is carried there through the storm drain system. The trash is not only unsightly, it is also dangerous to the birds and marine life that get tangled in or eat plastic debris. Teams of dedicated volunteers restored the beauty of the Bay by helping to remove the tons of trash displaced there.

On Satruday, January 25, 2020, another group of Beoing employees volunteered with Inside the Outdoors Foundation at Shipley Nature Center in Huntington Beach.  Trail markers were installed in the Coast Live Oak Grove to keep visitors on trials and preserve the native plants and animals calling this area home.  In addition, Boeing volunteers helped restore the pathways in the Demonstration Garden which is hosts a Butterfly Garden, Hummingbird Garden, Riparian Garden, Color Garden and Waterwise Garden.

Not only do Boeing employees volunteer their time in the community, the Boeing Company also provides grant funding to Inside the Outdoors Foundation for a number of student programs that offer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) educaiton to Orange County studnets.

We are grateful for this meaningful partnership!

Demonstration Garden - SNC
Demonstration Garden - SNC
MLK Day 2020 - UNB
MLK Day 2020 - UNB
Debris found in UNB
Debris found in UNB
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Teaching Station - pre and post fire
Teaching Station - pre and post fire

With the current California wildfire season in full swing we are reminded of the affects fire had on the Inside the Outdoors program at Rancho Soñado in 2007.

Rancho Soñado is Inside the Outdoors’ (ITO) headquarters and a natural outdoor education site. Rancho Soñado is located in the midst of pristine chaparral at the edge of the Cleveland National Forest. It is used by Orange County elementary and high school students for outdoor environmental education field trips.  It is also the home of ITO’s traveling animal collection used for in-class programming. 

The facility was significantly impacted by the Santiago fire in October 2007. Thanks to a well-executed fire prevention plan and the efforts of firefighters, the facility’s buildings, animal shelters (all animals were evacuated), and infrastructure were spared.  Damage included the total loss of trail structures, several outdoor learning stations (including shade structures and amphitheatre seating), and native chaparral ground cover.  After the fire the facility was at risk of erosion and had reduced capacity to support school field trips.

To stay committed to our mission of providing students, teachers, and families with multiple environmental education experiences at Rancho Soñado, there was no question we would rebuild. In order to allow the burn area to recover but also return school field trip programs to full capacity, new school field trip teaching areas were constructed with the help of Disney VoluntEARS and Boeing Engineers. These teaching areas included new hiking trails, step and bridge construction, and wilderness area teaching stations. 

Inside the Outdoors committed to using the burn area as a learning opportunity for students, teachers, and community members. Fire is an integral part of the chaparral ecosystem that comprises most of the natural area at Rancho Soñado.  As such, we integrated fire ecology into the field trip curriculum for students visiting the site.  Students lessons included; fire prone ecosystems, the fire triangle, natural and manmade ways that fires start, fire followers such as obligate resprouters, facultative seeders and obligate seeders, how fires affect plants and animals in an ecosystem and if the ecosystem is able to recover.

In 2008, Parker, a student from Wagon Wheel Elementary School, attended a program at Rancho Soñado where he learned about fire ecology and was able to see firsthand the effects of a fire and witness the recovery to native plants and local animals. What started as lessons on a field trip turned into a career for Parker.  He is now a firefighter with Cal Fire Riverside.  We’d like to think Inside the Outdoors’ fire ecology program sparked his curiosity and started Parker on his lifelong path.

The fire ecology program has since been adapted and is now being taught by Inside the Outdoors at Irvine Regional Park where fire loss was experienced in 2017.

Before and after fire at Rancho Sonado
Before and after fire at Rancho Sonado
Lessons in Fire Ecology
Lessons in Fire Ecology
Parker - 2008 ITO Fire Ecology field trip
Parker - 2008 ITO Fire Ecology field trip
Parker 2019
Parker 2019
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ITO Summer Day Camp
ITO Summer Day Camp

Inside the Outdoors Summer Day Camps nurture a natural curiosity — and kindness. From late June through early August, Inside the Outdoors (ITO) offers a series of week-long day camps for kids, led by the program’s field naturalists.

ITO’s Summer Day Camps run Monday through Friday and feature lessons, activities and games related to the theme of the week. Three sites located in Southern California include Inside the Outdoors’ Rancho Soñado headquarters in Silverado Canyon, the Shipley Nature Center at Huntington Beach Central Park and Irvine Regional Park in Orange.

Funding for Aspiring Anglers Scholarships, in honor of Allen Chariton, provide sponsorships for youth in underserved communities. For many of the youth served it is the first time they have been able to go to summer camp and an experience they will never forget.

Campers experience unique activities that incorporate science, fun, learning and leadership while tying lessons on nature, wildlife and the environment to kindness as part of  Orange County Department of Education's One Billion Acts of Kindness campaign.  #kindnessonebillion

Activities included fresh water pond experiments, wetland field studies, and native plant growth during a year with significant rainfall. Summer Campers learn how animals adapt to changing ecosystems as they became young scientists and performed field studies at Rancho Soñado, Shipley Nature Center, and Irvine Regional Park.

New Summer Camp themes are created each year. The 2019 ITO Summer Camps included:

Biggest, Brightest, Best Week Ever  

Celebrate all the "-est" of our natural world. Summer Campers learn about the fastest, tallest, slimiest, and most unique parts of our natural world through games, activities, and crafts.

Outdoor Superstars  

All about skills that will make your time in the outdoors the best it can be. Learn navigation and survival skills, make tools to help you learn and enjoy the outdoors. Summer Campers learn to Leave No Trace but only footprints and take nothing by memories.

Get Your Scientist On!          

Explore what it's like to be a scientist in different fields like Biologist, Engineer, and Meteorologist with games, crafts, experiments, and outdoor fun. Summer Campers conduct hands-on experiments, collect data, and make observations as they become Junior Scientists.

Water Week  

Dive into the world of water with games, science, and exploration of the wet stuff we can't live without. Summer Campers stay cool in the hot summer days while exploring the "What About Water" all around us.

Scales, Feathers, and Fur      

All about animals. Meet animals, observe them, and celebrate all their adaptations and habitats. Campers hike the local trails, explore the OC Zoo, meet some local species up close and personal, and take an OC Safari train ride.

ITO Summer Camp Games
ITO Summer Camp Games
ITO Summer Camp Nature Hike
ITO Summer Camp Nature Hike
ITO Field Naturalists and Summer Campers
ITO Field Naturalists and Summer Campers
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Organization Information

Inside the Outdoors Foundation

Location: Silverado, Ca - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @itofoundation@yahoo.com
Project Leader:
Lori Kiesser
Program Development Manager
Costa Mesa, California United States
$13,805 raised of $50,000 goal
 
180 donations
$36,195 to go
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