Stories

Students Clean Local Watershed

May 9, 2018

By Ana Gomez Salcido

As part of EL Education’s “Better World Day,” fourth and fifth-graders shared their work on fish and water ecosystems and cleaned up the Escondido Creek watershed with local elected officials and environmental activists.

“With the Better World Day project, students learn how they can make a positive impact in their community. They learn all about the environment, how can they be good stewards of the world,” said Escondido Union School District Superintendent Luis Rankins-Ibarra to La Prensa San Diego. “Students learned about the watershed, and how to protect, recycle, and how everything links together. Students were really invested and they learned a lot. The students learned how they can make an impact, and how their voice matters.”

This project was one of nearly 100 projects across the country that commemorated EL Education’s “Better World Day,” a day of student service and civic action to create positive change their communities.

The watershed clean-up on “Better World Day” was the culmination of the students’ year-long work on the importance of a clean watershed for the overall ecosystem.

Students learned about the importance of the Escondido Creek watershed through their “Trout in the Classroom” project, a learning experience that placed trout in the classroom for students to help spawn, care for and observe the fish to learn how the health of the fish serves as an indicator of the overall health of the watershed.

From this experience, the students gained a newfound sense of appreciation for their local waterways and how important it was to keep the water clean for the species that call it home.

Students in the fourth grade from Conway Elementary School presented what they’ve learned about the watershed through posters, exhibits and displays at the Kit Carson Amphitheatre in Escondido, on Friday, May 4. While students in the fifth grade from Conway Elementary School gave feedback to the fourth grade students about their presentation.

“We have been working on in this huge project for months. We’ve been just gathering information for the last few months, and today is the day we share that information with the community, and if it does good enough, the world,” said fourth grade student, Adrian Aybar. “The creek is a place where many animals live, but we are trying to preserve the trout. This fish has been here for centuries, but is just disappearing because of the bad environment, the pollution, and climate change. We are going to do a presentation about this to the community and a clean up. It’s really fun to be doing this.”

Conway is a specialty school in the EUSD working to become the first EL credentialed school in Southern California. Conway embraced the nationally-recognized research-based EL Education model (formerly known as Expeditionary Learning) three years ago. Since then, achievement has been on an upward trajectory. Discipline rates have decreased by 75 percent, parent engagement has significantly increased and academic achievement is on the rise.

“We truly believe that is our responsibility to grow active members of society. We focus on citizenship and character because we truly believe that is equally important as academics,” Tina Meglich, principal at Conway Elementary School, said. “If we get our students to do an engagement meaningful work that is connected to community issues that is how they are learning those academic skills.”

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