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
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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Wetland Assessment Station
Wetland Assessment Station

Nestled against the Santa Ana Mountains, Rancho Soñado serves as the headquarters of Inside the Outdoors' environmental education program. It’s also 1 of the program’s 15 popular field trips sites. Surrounded by preserves and national forest, Rancho Soñado gives students a chance to explore local ecology in a pristine environment.  Ecosystems represented include a pond, a riparian area, oak woodland, and chaparral. 

Fifth grade students explore the ecology of the Santa Ana Mountains through the following activities:

Water Station
Students participate in hands-on activities in which they learn about the hydrosphere, the amount of fresh water available on Earth, and water reuse. Students also learn about the source of their local water.

Wetland Assessment
Students use the scientific method to determine if the nonliving factors present in a pond are suitable for sustaining organisms. Working in teams, students measure the temperature, pH, clarity and salinity of the water. They will also survey plant and animal variety. Then, students compile their data and develop conclusions.

Plant Labs
Students work in cooperative groups at various lab stations to learn how plants adapt to dry conditions in the chaparral ecosystem. 

Energy Trail
Students learn about different native animals and be able to identify where they get their energy.

Pedometers

Students will use pedometers throughout the day to track their number of steps to estimate the amount they have hiked for the day.  Students will also learn to take their heart rate and check their heart rate before and after hiking.

 We could go on and on here about the picturesque scenery and natural wildlife that’s right in our own backyard, but words won't do it justice. We invite you to tagalong with some visiting Anaheim elementary students in this video link:  http://newsroom.ocde.us/science-gets-immersive-at-rancho-sonado/

Inside the Outdoors has been nurturing student knowledge and stewardship of the natural environment since 1974. The award-winning program aligns with the state’s instructional standards — including the Next Generation Science Standards — and offers 14 field trip locations throughout Orange County and 1 in Los Angeles County.

 

Note:  Inside the Outdoors is administered by the Orange County Department of Education, but receives no tax-based funding.  Inside the Outdoors Foundation was established in 1994 to provide sponsorship opportunities for low-income studnets through non-profit fundraising, grants and donations.

Plant Labs Station
Plant Labs Station
Thank You for your support
Thank You for your support
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Hands-on science in the classroom
Hands-on science in the classroom

Inside the Outdoors and the Disneyland Resort have launched a program to bring hands-on science lessons to Anaheim elementary schools.

The resort will provide funding to create the initiative that will allow for Traveling Scientists to visit dozens of public and private schools in Anaheim, leading classroom lessons designed to bring science learning to life and help students across Anaheim engage in interactive science exploration.

A kickoff event was held at the Anaheim Elementary School District’s Orange Grove Elementary in October, nearly 100 fourth-graders cheered and hollered when special guest Mickey Mouse made an appearance. School officials also performed an experiment for students to show how temperatures affect the volatility of carbonated water, simulating what causes volcanic eruptions.

The Disneyland Resort’s partnership in education with Inside the Outdoors means that thousands of fourth-grade Anaheim students will get the chance to engage in hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) programs. Through the end of the current school year, Traveling Scientists plan to visit with as many as 5,000 students in fourth-grade classrooms across Anaheim.

“We are delighted that now every fourth-grade student in Anaheim will be able to participate in the Traveling Scientist program, and we appreciate the Disneyland Resort’s generosity, which makes it possible,” said Anaheim Elementary School District Supt. Christopher Downing. “Sometimes when we think of imagination we only think about the arts, but by nature scientists are curious and use their imagination in their exploration of the world.” Carrie Nocella, Disneyland Resort director of external affairs, added “The Disneyland Resort is committed to equipping Anaheim students with skills for the future and the Traveling Scientist program will not only introduce fourth-graders to important lessons in STEAM, but will also teach them about the importance of caring for our natural resources.”

Traveling Scientists will lead experiments and lessons that support California’s Next Generation Science Standards, which emphasize critical thinking and hands-on science projects in classroom instruction. Examples of lessons include learning about the geology of California through rock formation and volcanic eruptions, and studying how human and natural systems intersect.

“When we are able to introduce students to science early on, it really expands their understanding of the world they live in as well as their imagination,” Downing said.

Thank you to the Disneyland Resort for making students and science a winning combination!

School Administators join in on the fun of science
School Administators join in on the fun of science
A surprise visitor - Thank you Disneyland Resort
A surprise visitor - Thank you Disneyland Resort
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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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