SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CA (December 8, 2022) – This fall, six environmental organizations led 500 South Tahoe High School students through a series of hands-on lessons about hydrological and ecological concepts in a place-based outdoor setting. The organizations’ environmental experts donated their time to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with the young people during a full day of programs. Following the first big snowstorm of the season, the students were excited to get outside in the newly fallen snow and learn about environmental issues affecting the Lake Tahoe area. 

Students dove into the importance of forest diversity, fire management and hands-on methods of studying and becoming better stewards of Tahoe’s forests. Participants used nature journaling to investigate local forest ecology with the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science. Students also planted native trees and learned about seed dispersal with the Sugar Pine Foundation. The USDA Forest Service and Great Basin Institute led a forest walk focused on tree species identification and fire mitigation.

The League to Save Lake Tahoe (Keep Tahoe Blue) and South Tahoe Public Utilities District taught students how individual actions can contribute to the preservation of Lake Tahoe’s world renowned water clarity. Teams practiced in-field water quality sampling and explored the significance of a healthy watershed.

All six environmental groups are part of the South Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition, known as STEEC. STEEC aims to provide free, high quality environmental education programs and projects to Lake Tahoe youth. By taking students out of the classroom and into the field, this outdoor investigation not only provided students with a connection to the place they call home, but ignited interest in local career paths focused on environmental conservation.

Studies show that students who become engaged in the outdoors improve their understanding in a range of academic subjects. Additionally, outdoor classrooms reduce stress, support behavioral and intellectual development, promote creativity, and build connections between individuals and the natural world.

To allow these vital programs to continue, and to ensure transportation and materials for participating students, please consider donating to STEEC this holiday season through the Lake Tahoe Unified School District. To learn how you can support the program, or to get more information, contact azertuche@ltusd.org.