Eco-learning: Tahoe students ahead of game |

Eco-learning: Tahoe students ahead of game

Ali Kipke-Lee


Last week, third-graders from Tahoe Valley Elementary School participated in a week-long Eco Program headed by Nikki Florio, founder of Tahoe Regional Environmental Education.

This program saturates California standards in reading, writing, mathematics, science, history, physical education and technology. It inspires students to get involved in their environment through exploration.

The week flew by with small group lessons led by California Conservation Corps and Tahoe Turning Point volunteers on Tahoe’s geology and geography, flora and fauna, California’s only Conscious Consumerism Program, special guest read-alouds, as well as an awesome field trip at Zephyr Cove.

The Eco Program was enhanced by presentations given the previous week by former state park ranger Marsha Hudson and Julie Roth, a U.S. Forest Service wildlife biologist. Marsha shared her geologic lessons on how Lake Tahoe was formed and introduced some of the various rock types that make up the Tahoe Basin. Julie brought in her expertise, talking about the native and non-native animals and how wildlife biologists study them. These youngsters then chose animals to investigate, wrote stories and created puppets, which they later shared.

Aboard the Woodwind II, students reviewed the week, pointed out Tahoe’s historical landforms and played a game of “Who Am I?” guessing the animal tag they were wearing based on yes and no questions.

The last part of the day we held the puppet presentations. We certainly have some creative thinkers! All in all, the days were action-packed with informative learning about our environment and what little effort it takes to make change.

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— Ali Kipke-Lee is a teacher at Tahoe Valley Elementary School.