How We Make a Difference To Teachers and Students
“When I went to Sagehen in 2008, it changed my life so wonderfully. I discovered a hidden passion and I hope Sagehen will continue to inspire blossoming scientists…” — S. Harvey (more reviews)
Sagehen welcomes classes, workshops, and other education use at all levels. Plan your visit.
Sagehen’s own education and public service programs increase community ownership of and commitment to Sagehen, to the University of California, and to science, generally. Sagehen name recognition in the community is now widespread. Nagging land use conflicts we used to experience in the basin completely dried up after we began offering the 5th grade Sagehen Outdoor Education Program (SOEP), which increased science scores in participating classes by 20%.
Our innovative education programs also provide research opportunities, with 5 completed graduate theses having examined ARC and SOEP to date:
- Examining the effectiveness of a standards-based, outdoor education summer program for English Language Learners. Harsemma, 2008. Master’s, Sierra Nevada College
- Bridging the gap: the union of personal and academic growth. ARC: Delivering literacy and personal growth for English Language Learners through outdoor education. Hooper, 2008. Master’s, Sierra Nevada College
- Transforming Thoughts into Words: Using Photography and Dialogue to Help Immigrant Students Write with Voice. Gorin, 2009. Master’s, UC Davis
- “That’s My Kind of Animal!” Designing and Assessing an Outdoor Science Education Program with Children’s Megafaunaphilia in Mind. Migliarese, 2011. Ph.D., UC Berkeley
- Place, Literacy Learning, and Civic Engagement: A Case Study of Adventure Risk Challenge. M. Lundahl, 2017. Ph.D., UNR
Major partners in education: Berkeley RIVERLAB, Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District, Adventure-Risk-Challenge, numerous small funding donors, Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships, Tahoe Institute for Natural Science, Berkeley Natural History Museums, Highway-89 Stewardship Team, UC Davis, UCANR California Naturalist, UC Natural Reserve System.
Sagehen regularly hosts university classes and graduate student workshops.
UC Davis ENT 109 – “Bug Boot Camp” is Sagehen’s longest running course, occurring in alternate years since Richard Bohart first brought the class here in 1954.
This is a five-week field course on the study of insects in their natural habitats; their identification and ecology. Students must collect and identify 200 Families of insects (out of only 600 in North America) within the Sagehen basin and wider surrounding region. Sagehen’s insect list comes largely from this course. More info.
Sagehen was an early beta-tester, and we continue to work closely with UCANR’s California Naturalist to develop new formats for this public certification program. Several of our freshly-minted California Naturalists developed and manage a public volunteer program at Sagehen, including our annual BioBlitz events.
Adventure-Risk-Challenge (ARC), is our award-winning literacy, science and leadership program for at-risk teens (now also in Yosemite National Park). ARC completes its 15th year in 2018 and is now an independent non-profit.
“ARC is an innovative leadership and literacy program for high school youth, linking wilderness to academics, adventure to leadership, environmental science to literacy, and confidence to activism. Our transformational year-round program improves academic skills, exposes youth to a range of natural environments and wilderness experiences, and inspires the confidence they need to envision and accomplish goals, succeed in high school, attend college, and become engaged, empowered citizens.”
The Sagehen Outdoor Education Program (SOEP) was founded and organized by 3 Truckee-Tahoe Unified School District (TTUSD) teachers, the Berkeley Natural History Museums, and Sagehen Creek Field Station. The program began in 2007 and now serves approximately 350 students from five schools every year. Program operation assistance is provided by parent volunteers.
The students attend either a 2-day or 3-day overnight program at the field station in the Fall. In the Spring, all 5th graders attend a 1-day program. The students of Truckee Elementary participate in a second 1-day program when they mentor 1st graders, and become their teachers for a day at Sagehen. The SOEP program provides local students access to a learning environment that is literally in their backyard.
Students learn a variety of skills and gain knowledge about many different topics. Lessons include team-building, local ecosystems, flora and fauna of the Sierra Nevada, macro-invertebrates, water quality, plant and animal identification. Classes are taught by outdoor educators, and educators from two local non-profits: Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships (SWEP) and Tahoe Institute for Natural Science (TINS). The students also learn to live and work together as a group. These 5th graders leave Sagehen with a greater appreciation of nature, science, their local environment, and each other.
Bio Boot Camp & Bio Boot Camp 2.0
Launched in 2011, UC Davis’ Bio Boot Camps are field-based camps of up to 8 days at Sagehen and other UC field stations for junior-high and high-school aged students who are interested in the natural sciences.
Overall, what was the most beneficial part of the program? “Seeing my child so enthusiastic and engaged with learning about biology in realistic settings and doing realistic tasks. She has learned some practical scientific skills that most people don’t even become exposed to until a much later age.” – a parent’s evaluation (Bio Boot Camp 2011)
Current & Ongoing Education Projects
View our calendar to read abstracts of additional past, present and planned education projects at Sagehen (like those above), and more details on the following…