As summer marches along, so do we – leading a group of engaged youngsters through the wilderness of Sugarloaf Ridge State Park as part of our Introductory Backpacking Camp.

That’s just one of several educational camps we’ve provided this summer, both at Sugarloaf and at Sonoma Garden Park, in our ongoing Summer Science Camp series. SEC educator Tony Passantino has led most of the outdoor camps at Sugarloaf, teaching kids about native wildlife and backpacking fundamentals. Meanwhile, at the Garden Park, fellow SEC educator Holland Gistelli (a.k.a. “Professor Hedgehog”) has led her campers through games and gardening – with a big dose of magic – in the Harry Potter-themed summer camps.

Somehow, despite their busy schedules, Tony and Holland also managed to attend a multi-day residence workshop through the Forestry Institute for Teachers. Developed by the Northern California Society of American Foresters and University of California Extension, the workshop trains educators to better teach their students about forest ecology and forest resource management practices, giving a deeper understanding of these key subjects to be passed down to our Valley’s youth.

Educational materials provided by the program will be implemented in our various K-12 programs – including our pilot 6th grade program “Climate Champions” – because we never stop thinking of new ways to share vital knowledge about the natural world.