Youth Education during COVID-19

Greetings from the Youth Education Department!

We truly miss going into classrooms and teaching our environmental and sustainability education programs around the Central Oregon region. Although our day-to-day “norm” is altered, we have discovered ways to continue providing education to our EarthSmart students!

Here are a few highlights from our world:

  • Our water program coordinator, Geneva Mayall, created an entire unit for Pacific Crest Middle School 6th graders to provide students with our City of Bend Water Program, “Our Water System: A Journey Through Bend” unit. Geneva worked with PCMS’s teachers to produce a robust, engaging, and interactive unit on our water system in Bend. If you are interested in this unit as a resource for students, email Geneva to learn more.
  • Each trimester, we visit Ridgeview and Redmond High School Health 2 classes and provide a two-part Environmental Health program. We adapted the program into a virtual, self-guided lesson structure for students to complete from home. The lessons involve video background lessons from our educators, presentation segments, thoughtful prompts for virtual-discussions, and a project assignment to tie learning objectives together. This short unit is available for 9-12th grade; email Becca for questions/details.
  • EarthSmart is going virtual! Our popular 8-lesson EarthSmart series isn’t getting left out. We polled teachers who have participated in the series in the past to find out what is the most useful form of lesson content. The structure we created for EarthSmart was sent out to the first round of educators this week and we are working to turn each of our 8 lessons into a virtual self-taught/guided format. These lessons include content from our in-class series as well as enrichment activities, at-home resources, and engaging STEAM inspired projects. EarthSmart is geared toward 4th/5th grade. If you are an educator wondering about EarthSmart, please email Becca to learn more.
  • Our work with students and teachers in Bend La Pine Schools has ended for the year, but applications for Oregon Green School certifications are still being completed. Ensworth Elementary School received their first green school application and Juniper, Miller, Cascade, Sky View, Ponderosa and Summit all re-certified this year completing a brand new application with a robust waste investigation. Many other schools are still in the process and students will be able to celebrate their accomplishments when they, hopefully, return to school in the fall. 

Going forward…

Living in the unknown is tough. Although we won’t be back in schools the remainder of this school year, we look forward to providing virtual content to students. Looking toward our summer programs, we are still planning and hosting our Forest Explorers and Eco-Hero camps, fingers crossed! We even added two new sessions of our Forest Explorers camps. Learn more and sign up for summer programs here.

Due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, there is a possibility that summer programs may be modified or cancelled depending on group size limitations, social distancing requirements and other directives from governmental and health authorities. The safety of our participants and staff is our top priority. We will keep you informed on the status of your program(s) as soon as we have more information. Luckily, camps take place outside at the Skyliner Lodge area and surrounding trails! If you are interested in signing up, but weary about what rules will/will not be in place over the summer, we offer full cancelling policies, too.

Thank you for supporting our work! We are lucky to have a strong connection with students in Bend LaPine, Redmond, Jefferson, and Crook County districts. We are excited to maintain our relationship with students throughout this time, and look forward to connecting with even more students and schools in the future.

We’ll leave you with this video from Geneva as a preview of our work in the virtual field. From our kitchen classroom to yours, here’s a “Drop in the Bucket” to teach you about Earth’s water supply.