Wild Equity, Mission Beacon & WALC Tackle Big Year

In 2012, the Wild Equity Institute is partnering with Downtown High School’s Wilderness, Arts, & Literacy Collaborative and the Mission Beacon Center at Everett Middle School to help at-risk youth discover the connections between the plights facing their communities and the plight of our local endangered species.

WALC’s Catherine Salvin helps students with their field journals
during an Endangered Semester trip to Mori Point.

Wild Equity Institute Executive Director Brent Plater helps Mission Beacon
students find Western Snowy Plovers at Ocean Beach.

The joint project is called “Endangered Semester,” an off-shoot of the Wild Equity Institute’s signature education project, the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year. Generously supported by Audubon/Toyota TogetherGreen, the California Wildlands Grassroots Fund of the Tides Foundation, and Patagonia SF, the project provides students from these schools with opportunities to see and help save endangered species in the field, while earning prizes for learning how to communicate with public officials, make sustainable and healthy lifestyle choices, and take ownership of their local green spaces and parks.

To date, students have been able to search for spawning steelhead at Muir Woods, western snowy plovers at Ocean Beach, and California red-legged frogs at Mori Point. On each trip, students participated in activities that helped these species recover, while sharpening skill sets in nature observation, exercising outdoors, and communicating effectively about issues they care most passionately about.

WALC students observed this California red-legged frog at Mori Point
and earned prizes from Patagonia while learning how to write effective letters.

Mission Beacon students observed these Western snowy plovers at Ocean Beach
while sharpening their observation skills and learning how to coexist with wildlife in urban areas.

Four more trips are schedule for the semester, each to a site that helps students discover the root causes of harm in our communities and our remaining wild areas. In the process, the Endangered Semester helps each of us recognize how interconnected we are to each other and the lands in which we live, and provides inspiration to each of us to work for a more equitable world for people and the plants and animals that accompany us on Earth.

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