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BLM California News.bytes
News.Bytes Extra, Issue 638

Hands on the Land Benefitting a Teacher and her Pupils

Trinidad School teacher Stephanie Strasser reads to her third graders during an outing on public lands. BLM photo
Trinidad School teacher Stephanie Strasser reads to her third graders during an outing on public lands.
(Photo by Leisyka Parrott/BLM) 

A primary school teacher on California’s spectacular North Coast has been inspired by the beauty of the public lands to develop a “place-based” curriculum to expose her pupils to the wonders of the great outdoors.

Stephanie Strasser, a third grade teacher at Trinidad School,  has been named a Bureau of Land Management “Teacher on the Public Land,” and is developing a curriculum based on the natural and cultural resources of the California Coastal National Monument offshore from her community.

Over the summer she worked with BLM specialists on projects that involved archaeological surveys, tidepool monitoring and environmental outreach and education.  In the coming school year Strasser, who is also a marine biologist will do presentations on her summer projects for students and other audiences.

She produced a video about her “place-based” learning experience that is available on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lv63gc_OVQY

"Working with the BLM in developing place based curriculum has been a dream come true,” Strasser said. “My love of the ocean and marine sciences has been a perfect match for the BLM Teachers on Public Lands program. Our school is steps away from the California Coastal National Monument and I use public land as my outdoor classroom as much as possible.
"Teaching is an art,” she continued. “Every connection is unique. You are responsible for another person’s education, a social worker, a replacement mom, a classroom manager, a confidant and a friend all in one. I hope to connect and inspire my students to make a difference in our world."

A beach near Trinidad California with a large rock island of the California Coastal National Monument. BLM photo
The California Coastal National Monument at Trinidad. 
(Photo by Bob Wick/BLM)

The BLM’s Teachers on the Public Land program was developed by the agency’s “Hands on the Land” program and the University of Colorado, Denver. It provides teachers with professional development experiences by placing them as teacher interns at BLM Hands on the Land sites, such as the California Coastal National Monument at Trinidad. Teachers spend parts of their summers working at the sites and then develop lesson plans that can be used by students, community volunteers, other teachers and BLM employees.

The program allows teachers to fully explore BLM-managed public lands, enrich their students with a better understanding and appreciation for public land resources and to develop classroom activities. They receive continuing education credits as well.

Strasser’s community of Trinidad is a gateway to the California Coastal National Monument that protects more than 20,000 offshore rocks and small islands stretching the 1,100-mile length of the California Coast. It also includes more than 1,600 acres of public lands on shore.


-- Jeff Fontana, Public Affairs Specialist, Northern California District (August 2014)

BLM California News.bytes, Issue 638 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page .

Last updated: 08-20-2014