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Picerne Family Foundation - Global Sustainability Project - SCHS

KAPF 2012 Global Sustainability Project TeamThe Picerne Family Foundation has embarked on the third year of a five year pilot program, the Global Sustainability Project. This program creates an active collaboration with the Foundation, Advanced Placement Environmental Science and Biology teachers in Orange County, California and the Earthwatch Institute. The Foundation is supporting an intensive educational and experiential stateside program in addition to providing scholarships for eleven students and one teacher to participate in a 10 day field expedition to South Africa. Students will be aiding research scientists studying ecological sustainability among Africa’s wildlife, particularly hyenas and other scavengers.

I. Goals
There is increasing recognition and acceptance that greater international cross-cultural understanding is necessary for global ecological sustainability. Ecological threats do not stop and start at national borders. It is the goal of this project to provide students who have evidenced the potential to be future leaders the opportunity to:

  • Increase their understanding of another culture very different than their own
  • Contribute their skills in sustaining their environment, both locally and internationally.

It is intended that the GSP will be a rigorous program with the potential for enduring college, career and life style impact.

II. The Global Sustainability Project (GSP)

There are three parts to the GSP program.

1. Expedition preparation. Teachers plan an intensive study program prior to the expedition in order to prepare students. Students gain knowledge and understanding of the ecology, science, culture, politics, and history of the country they are to visit. The intent is to make their volunteer overseas experience impactful and personally meaningful.

2. Overseas expedition
. During the summer 11 students participate in a 10 day international conservation volunteer program conducted by the Earthwatch Institute. The field experience provides students the opportunity to do actual scientific data gathering in a field setting as well as immerse them in another culture. In order to reinforce learning in the moment and ensure follow-up when the students are back in school, a teacher from the school accompanies the teens on the expedition.

3. Service. Students are required to provide service to their community through performing 40 hours of meaningful volunteering experience. Teachers develop specific projects in relationship with local conservancies and non-profit organizations whose primary mission is ecological sustainability.

This three part program designed by the Foundation is unique for American high school students. It is a first of its kind for the Earthwatch Institute. The Picerne Family Foundation is thoroughly evaluating the short and long term value and impact of the program on the participants as well as the potential for replicability of the program.

III. Organizational Collaboration

The Picerne Family Foundation. As an operating foundation, KAPF provides overall and ongoing leadership, management and financial support of the program. The Foundation has engaged the Earthwatch Institute to organize and manage the overseas tour and selects outstanding teachers from the Orange County school system.

Advanced Placement Candidates will be chosen by application from students currently enrolled in Advanced Placement Environmental Science or Advanced Placement Biology courses. AP teachers who have a demonstrated interest in engaging students in ecological research will lead the preparatory study and the service component. They are also invited to accompany the students on the expedition.

Earthwatch Institute (Earthwatch.org) Earthwatch is a nonprofit organization that has been supporting field research scientists all over the world for over 40 years. They are funded by grants as well as by adult and teen volunteers who take one to two week expeditions to international research sites to assist data gathering by scientists. Earthwatch is particularly well suited to provide the infrastructure and resources needed for an international program for teenagers. It has been named the #1 educational ecotourism organization by National Geographic.

IV. Beyond the Pilot Project
If the GSP is successful in demonstrating significant social value, KAPF will expand the GSP to other high schools in Orange County. It is the ultimate goal of the Foundation to create a model that is readily replicable and to make that model available to other interested schools and funders throughout the country.