Training the Next Generation of Environmental Stewards and Scientists

We recently launched a one-of-a-kind science program in partnership with Groundwork San Diego – Chollas Creek and Outdoor Outreach engaging Black, Indigenous, (and) People of Color (BIPOC) students in year-long environmental science education, outdoor recreation, and workforce training. Students also receive a stipend for participating and free transportation (thanks to the Watershed Explorers van). The program has received positive remarks from the students and staff who feel more connected to the local environment and Chollas Creek watershed.

Environmental Stewardship in Chollas Creek

BIPOC youth science program with San Diego Coastkeeper and Groundwork San Diego at EarthLab

On one Saturday each month, the “Green Team” meets at the EarthLab Climate Action Park, next to Millenial Tech Middle School and home to a tributary of the Chollas Creek. Thirteen youth participants engage in environmental workshops throughout the school year, conduct water quality monitoring and sampling, and attend outdoor recreation events.

BIPOC youth science and workforce development program San Diego CoastkeeperBIPOC youth science water quality monitoring San Diego Coastkeeper Groundwork Chollas Creek

The workshops explore environmental justice, career development, and local advocacy opportunities. During water monitoring events, youth collect data using different types of equipment like probes, meters, and sampling poles. They monitor ambient parameters like dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, turbidity, conductivity, and salinity. Samples are also collected and analyzed for metals, nutrients, and bacteria.

The outdoor recreation events introduce students to nature-based activities through excursions like rock climbing, biking, tide pooling, and kayaking. These engagements provide access to outdoor spaces and technical skills and opportunities to create new experiences, build confidence, and discover their strengths.

A New Kind of Youth Science Program

BIPOC youth science and workforce development program San Diego Coastkeeper water quality monitoring
Pedro, Tito, Allie, Yoseline, Gerard, Alejandro, Harriet, Rachele, Vivienne, Melissa, and Christina.

Through this program San Diego Coastkeeper and our partners are committed to:

      • Increasing environmental science literacy
      • Overcoming equity barriers to environmental stewardship and outdoor recreation
      • Providing real-world science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) experiences
      • Creating networks and pathways for participants’ future careers

Program leadership includes San Diego Coastkeeper Science Program Manager Rachele Lopez and Groundwork Program Managers Javier Cardenas and Allie Sifrit.