Learning Landscapes Inspires Nationwide
Learning Landscapes makes national news: We here in the Feather River Country know that growing "mountain kids" is critical to a healthy and sustainable future and now our innovative education model is being adopted by other land trusts and schools.
Read the article, "Nurturing a Conservation Ethic One Classroom at a Time" by the Land Trust Alliance.
"Whenever possible, Nancy Sipe brings her first-grade students outside to what she calls the most amazing classroom of all: the Feather River Watershed. Thanks to the Learning Landscapes program—an innovative partnership between California’s Plumas County Unified School District, the accredited Feather River Land Trust and several visionary landowners—Sipe has access to outdoor wooden benches, a nature trail, a forested ravine and the Leonhardt Ranch, which has a beautiful meadow across from the high school.
Learning Landscapes has been a transformational experience for students and teachers alike. “Our students like to refer to themselves as ‘Mountain Kids,’” says Sipe, who teaches at the Quincy Elementary School. “It happens gradually, but by the time they are in the upper grades, they know many of the trees by name, and they can explain what a watershed is to the younger students. Our kids take pride in being Mountain Kids. They see this as a positive part of their identities. And the teachers take pride in being ‘Mountain Teachers.’”
Launched in 2004, the Learning Landscapes program is unique for several reasons. First, each outdoor classroom is within a 10-minute walk from a school, which encourages teachers to use it as much as possible. Second, the program is geared toward educating and empowering all teachers to be environmental educators rather than relying on land trust staff for expertise. Regular professional training is offered as a way to instill confidence among teachers. The land trust provides each classroom with a field kit that contains field guides, binoculars, hand lenses and restoration tools, as well as some backpacks for easy traveling."
More about Learning Landscapes
Learning Landscapes is FRLT’s conservation and education program designed to greatly enhance children’s contact with the natural world, place-based learning, and hands-on stewardship experiences.
Learning Landscapes was adopted as a program of FRLT in 2004 with the vision and leadership of Rob Wade, Learning Landscapes Coordinator, and Paul Hardy, FRLT Founder. 13 years of woking together, FRLT has conserved natural areas as Outdoor Classrooms within a 10-minute walk of every public school in the Upper Feather River Watershed and continues to support their use.