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  • Writer's pictureJenna Granger

Spring Sagehen - The Conclusion to Another Successful Year with Placed-Based Learning

Spring Sagehen is the culmination of a three-part, multiple season program for 5th graders in the Tahoe Truckee Area. This program successfully gets students outside for a field trip each fall, winter, and spring for place-based learning about our natural environment.

This year we were excited for the return of the spring Sagehen program at Sagehen Field Station for the Truckee-based schools. This has not happened since pre-pandemic years! This year, students were able to see the field station in the fall and then come back out in the spring to witness the change of seasons. The students at the north shore schools were brought to natural spaces nearer their school, Skylandia and the North Tahoe Regional Park.

For both groups students were split into four groups to engage with nature in a variety of ways with SWEP and Tahoe Institute for Natural Science (TINS). The students at the field station used a dichotomous key to identify macro invertebrates at the Sagehen Creek and had a native plant identification competition with SWEP, and caught insects and looked for birds with TINS. Favorites of the day were creek head dipping to keep cool during the heat of the day, gloating about who won the plant competition and snake catching.

For the north shore schools, students experienced a calm day of native plant identification and drawing, sit-spotting and nature art making with SWEP and again, bug catching and bird watching with TINS. Student favorites were making forts, holding bugs and watching bird drama in the sky.

Students in either Sagehen experiences, enjoyed the day away from school, a break from testing, time spent outside, and overall engaging in fun activities in nature that they were inspired to continue all summer, as we ended every program with giving them the homework of being outside as much as possible this summer.

The Sagehen Program provides students with a suitable level of structure to peacefully engage with nature. Witnessing the students immersed in their tasks had a profound impact on all observers, confirming our shared belief that this is where students should be- in the woods.

We thank our partners: Sagehen Outdoor Education Program, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, Tahoe Institute for Natural Sciences and UC Berkeley Sagehen Creek Field Station for their ongoing commitment to bring this unique, relevant, and vital outdoor education program to local students.


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