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A Growing Partnership

January 8, 2018

This year marks the continuation of a beneficial and enduring partnership between the Sacramento Tree Foundation and the Center for Land Based Learning’s SLEWS program (Student and Landowners Education and Watershed Stewardship). This year SacTree is hosting four educational volunteer events for students participating in the SLEWS program. During these events high school seniors learn about the importance of environmental stewardship, gain practical skills for environmental field work and learn the science behind conservation efforts. Recent events have focused on propagating native plant species, identifying migrating water fowl and birds of prey and learning about the intricate management strategies employed at the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

Spending time in the field with SacTree staff, knowledgeable mentors and other environmental professionals helps students gain the skills and perspective they will need to seek further education or employment in environmental fields. Mentors range from recent graduates to retired professionals and provide the students with varied and valuable insight. Our most recent event gave students a chance to construct raptor perches used to manage rodent populations on restoration sites. This activity was paired with a survey of birds found during winter on the refuge. Students were given binoculars and bird identification guides to help them to fill out the survey used by refuge staff. Together we observed birds of prey, ducks, geese and even Sandhill Cranes.

The opportunity for the students to take the knowledge they have gained during the semester and see the real world application is invaluable. Many students expressed their excitement and gratitude; promising to come back and volunteer as soon as they could. The enthusiasm of the students and mentors was contagious. Everyone left the event with a big smile on their face and a new found interest in birding and conservation efforts to preserve habitat.