Embracing the opportunity to teach kids about environmental sustainability is an important part of our Stemple Creek Ranch philosophy. When kids experience Mother Nature in a personal way it plants the seed of stewardship and responsibility for the care of land and animals. We believe that when children connect with the Earth through project-based learning they are more likely to become conservation-minded adults. That’s why our ongoing partnership with the STRAW Project is so vital to us.
STRAW stands for Students and Teachers Restoring A Watershed. The innovative program is administered by non-profit Blue Point Conservation Science which partners with local 1st-3rd grade elementary schools. The goal of STRAW is to educate students about the importance of protecting watersheds, and empower the kids through action to make a difference. Each year approximately 3,500 local students participate in 50 outdoor restoration work days to plant over 4,500 native species of plants!
Stemple Creek Ranch has been at the epicenter of STRAW project efforts since 1994 when Loren’s sister Melissa, a teacher, brought her 4th grade class here for a restoration project on the banks of Stemple Creek. STRAW has been a part of our life ever since!
Late last year we welcomed three classes of students, teachers, and parent volunteers from Dunham Elementary School in Petaluma for a restoration project along one of the feeder creeks on our property.
STRAW team leaders John and Laura were on hand to direct the group in planting native shrubs that help prevent erosion and provide habitat for wildlife.
Students worked collaboratively in teams to dig holes for each plant and insert a dry water gel pack to help the roots take hold. The base of each plant was surrounded with cardboard (as a weed mat), and mulch was applied on top to help retain water. Watching the kids light up as they worked in the dirt was an absolute blast!
Third grade teacher Tara Carter shared, “Being in nature is the great equalizer. Everyone can make a contribution here; even those who struggle academically can shine. This kind of project-based learning expands the kids’ perspective beyond the classroom. In a single day they see they can make a difference and effect real change in the world. It’s a powerful lesson!"
We are delighted to support STRAW Project efforts that help sustain our land while inspiring a new generation to care for the Earth and her creatures.