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Local Sustainability Projects - San Clemente High School

SCHS - Local Sustainability ProjectA cornerstone of the GSP is the requirement that students provide 40 hours of direct service to a nature conservancy or nonprofit ecology organization in their community. The Foundation strongly believes that students should develop an ethic of responsibility for their environment, both locally and globally. The Foundation requires this hands-on service to allow the students to “pay forward” the opportunity they have been afforded in participating in the Earthwatch expedition.

The San Mateo Creek Project. The San Mateo Creek is the last native flowing creek in Southern California that flows from its point source to the ocean, naturally and unobstructed. It is a very unique habitat in danger of being lost due to many different factions. It is important that the community understands what a unique, beautiful, endangered area they have at their back door. The San Clemente High School GSP team will be designing a field study of the San Mateo Creek watershed for future use by high school biology students.

The students will develop a curriculum that will cut across many different disciplines, incorporating the history, culture, and field science of this unique region. The students will produce a teacher packet that includes pre-field trip information, three different versions of the field study, and questions to check for understanding throughout the experience.

The GSP participants will also design field stations that future students will move through as they study the endangered and unique plants and animals of the region. GSP students will create a field study journal for future students to record information and will include cultural and historical facts, and watershed maps. The students will focus on the native tribes that originally inhabited the area, why it is a biological hotspot, a study of the habitat of the endangered pocket mouse, a quadrat of the coastal sage scrub, observations on the riparian community, and water testing in the estuary.

The GSP will ultimately provide needed and valuable support to the San Onofre Foundation which seeks to increase public understanding and appreciation of the San Onofre and San Clemente State Parks. The curriculum that the GSP students will develop will allow them to strengthen the San Onofre Foundation’s educational and interpretive programs. The curriculum created by the San Clemente High School GSP students will also likely be used by the park docents for field studies for community members.