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.
"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."