Thursday, June 15, 2017

We're Leafin' on a Jet Plane!

We're Leafin' on a Jet Plane!

As we reach the end of our school year here at Sierra Outdoor School, we would like to share some wonderful news! Each year the interns have the opportunity to create and work on a project to improve our campus. Read on to see all the wonderful things the interns have done before hoping on a jet plane!

Internship Recruitment Video

Kelsey "Goose" Roberts has worked alongside naturalist Angel Olavarria to film and interview our naturalist intern team to create a video highlighting the internship. The video is going to be used as a recruitment tool for future prospective interns. Visit our website to see this year's interns in action and to listen to them reflect on their experiences!




Geology of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range Mural 



Elise "Coyote" Adams added to teaching resources on campus, by designing and painting a mural. The mural depicts the creation of the Coastal and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges. 






Elise's mural will act as a visual aid for several of our classes including our cultural history classes, as well as our geology course.






Insect Night Class 

Amanda "Salamanda" Colley's intern project was to create a new night class for SOS.  She created a class all about insects; exploring their adaptations and importance. With four hands-on, student-led activities, students will get the awesome opportunity to delve into the world of arthropods and learn why they are so amazing! This is an hour long program that is meant to offer another option for night programs at Sierra Outdoor School, and to help students better understand insects. 



Reforestation Project

Our immediate surroundings have a profound impact on our health and well being. Bark beetles and drought have reduced the number of living trees at Sierra Outdoor School and blocked off teaching areas. This has created new obstacles for students and staff to overcome.





Cassie "Cricket" Petrilla and Connor "Lizard" Reinecke have developed a plan to turn a section of campus into a productive ecosystem and useful teaching area. The plan utilizes permaculture principles and sustainable design to introduce swales, plantings, teaching areas and a new loop trail. After consultation with industry experts, Cassie and Connor hit the drawing board to create their plan. Now that the initial design is created, they need future SOS interns to put the plan into action! 




Pond Life Plant Identification Guide 


Lauren "Blackberry" Black set out to increase the tools available to our students while exploring our pond during our Pond Life class. She made a plant identification guide for our pond. She spent most of her time identifying all of the plants growing in and around the pond- with a lot of help from the naturalists and experts outside of our staff. 
The guide is a collection of the plants identified. It includes pictures of the plants, information about where they grow, what they look like, and when they bloom. It also explains how they fit into the ecosystem as food or habitat for wildlife, and ways that humans have/can use the plant, for medicinal or food purposes. 

BioBlitz Citizen Science Project

On May 6th the Sierra Outdoor School (SOS) brought together 40 volunteers in their first-ever "BioBlitz" to identify as many species of plants, animals, fungi, and all living things as they could find on our campus. Seven teams of volunteers spread out in search of anything that hopped, crawled, flew, or grew under the sun. The search began at dawn with Audubon Society members identifying birds. SOS naturalists, Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center biologists, and community members arrived at 8 AM ready to explore. After 4 hours of searching, between all seven teams they collected... drum roll please... 176 species! 

The event was organized by Naturalist Interns Robin "Sun Dog" VanHouten and Brenna "Turkey Tail" O'Halloran as a spring project for the school. Ages of the participants ranged from 6 years old to 60 years old. Every year from now going forward they hope that SOS will repeat this BioBlitz event to track how the biodiversity of their forest may change.

With each BioBlitz in the future Robin and Brenna hope to continue to inspire excitement and curiosity about the natural world in our volunteers. Look out for BioBlitz 2018 next Spring at the Sierra Outdoor School.


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