UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

Grant helps expand UC Natural Reserve outreach

– The Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council has awarded $65,000 to the Adventure, Risk, & Challenge program, an intensive literacy and leadership program for English language learners conducted by the University of California, Berkeley's Sagehen Creek Field Station near Truckee.

The funds will be used to expand the program to UC Santa Barbara's Sedgwick Reserve, where it will serve students in northern Santa Barbara, Kern and San Luis Obispo counties.

The program targets adolescents who are potential leaders within their communities and provides a life-changing, six-week outdoor experience, as well as support throughout the students' high school careers. Through a combination of outdoor adventures like backpacking, rock climbing and sea kayaking, and intensive classroom language and science instruction, the program builds the students' confidence and abilities.

Now in its third year working primarily with students from the Lake Tahoe area, the program has dramatically improved the students' performance on the English portion of the high school exit exam.

Both the Sagehen Creek Field Station and the Sedgwick Reserve are part of the University of California Natural Reserve System. Dedicated to scientific research, university level-education, and public education, the 35 reserves in the system provide unique opportunities for students to learn about the natural environment, interact with scientists conducting field research, and expand their career goals. For more information on the UC Natural Reserve System go to http://nrs.ucop.edu/.

Sagehen Creek Field Station, a UC Berkeley research and education facility just north of Truckee, has been involved in community outreach and service since 1951. The facility serves as a resource for local school students and scientists, and it brings cutting-edge research and outreach programs to the region.

"The Stewardship Council is thrilled to help the Adventure, Risk, & Challenge program to expand its literacy and leadership program in Santa Barbara, Kern and San Luis Obispo counties," said Jayne Battey, executive director of the Stewardship Council. "Through this grant and others like it, the Stewardship Council aims to create future stewards of California by connecting youth to the environment."

The Stewardship Council is a collaborative land conservation and youth investment foundation. Its mandate includes evaluating and providing recommendations for the conservation of over 140,000 acres of watershed lands currently owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company and spread across 22 counties, as well as developing and implementing community-based park and environmental education opportunities for underserved youth.

"We are excited to bring this successful program to other parts of California," added Katie Zanto, the founder of Adventure, Risk & Challenge, or ARC. "We believe that this partnership between UC Berkeley, the UC Natural Reserve System and the Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council will make it possible to reach out to English language learner students across California, offering them a life changing opportunity."

The Sedgwick Reserve in Santa Ynez has several well-developed programs for under-served students, including the Kids In Nature partnership with the Santa Maria, Santa Ynez, Los Alamos, Lompoc and Guadelupe school districts, and the Los Angeles Conservation Corps watershed program.

"Our goal is to expose more students to the academic and leadership skill-building opportunities of the ARC program," Zanto added.