Center for Land-Based Learning Winters, California
The Center for Land-Based Learning’s SLEWS (Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship) program engages California high school students in habitat restoration projects that enhance classroom learning, develop leadership skills and result in real positive impact for the environment.
By including California school students in habitat restoration, SLEWS addresses the needs for healthier land and more wildlife habitat, and the need to instill conservation and stewardship values in high school students. SLEWS is one of the few habitat restoration projects targeted to high school students, who very much need to know that they can “make a difference” in their communities.
A Captain Planet Foundation Small Grant helped with a SLEWS project where 39 4H students attended a campout at the Center for Land-Based Learning headquarters and engaged in an array of community service and educational activities. One of the more popular activities included helping to finish construction of 10 multi-chambered bat houses. The bat houses were installed on the farms and ranches where SLEWS students worked. The students also, finished construction of 15 bluebird houses that were also installed on the edge of farm fields. Each bat house can accommodate 50-75 Brazilian free-tailed bats (their most abundant local species), and each bluebird box can potentially fledge 2-3 clutches of 2-8 young (any one of 4 cavity-nesting species) each summer. That means the Captain Planet Foundation grant will potentially lead to new homes being constructed for 500-750 bats and up to 360 birds each year!
The Center for Land-Based Learning asked their students open-ended questions about their favorite component of SLEWS (Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship) field days during their program post-survey. Here are some post-SLEWS survey quotes from students whose projects included installing wildlife structures with the help of Captain Planet Foundation:
“I thought my SLEWS experience was very memorable. I loved the chance that I got to meet a lot of new people and learned so much more in the agriculture field and learned so much more about native and invasive species. Being a part of SLEWS interests me more in the agricultural field, before SLEWS I wasn’t really interested in agriculture, but now I am thinking of having some type of agricultural based career since it helps out the environment a lot.” ~ Jorge Solorzano
“SLEWS helped me connect with nature and see nature in a different perspective. It also taught me new plants and trees.” I really enjoyed the activities they had us do.” ~ Kassandra Tizoc
“The SLEWS program got me thinking about doing something related to Ag when I get older. I like to learn about how stuff grows and what their natural habitats are.” ~ Shi Liang
“I learned to see things in a different way, plants, trees are shelter for animals. We should take care of our environment because if we don’t it can affect our animals.”
“It’s a great program, you learn a lot of new things and if you want to major in college in agriculture, or environmental science this is a great way to start!” ~Eulisa, Grant High
Click here to see more photos of the students project.