The Napa County RCD offers the LandSmart for Kids Acorns to Oaks and Youth Stewards programs for middle and high schools throughout Napa County to experience hands-on, place-based, environmental education that is connected to locally signifcant issues and resources.
Acorns To Oaks focuses students on Napa County’s oak woodlands and the ecosystem services provided by this type of habitat. Students explore the ecology of oak woodlands during a class room presentation, and participate in two fieldtrips during which they plant acorns and protect new seedlings from weed competition. Youth Stewards gives students more in-depth exposure to the diversity of habitats in the County, as well as the network of organizations that are involved in conservation, restoration, and protection. Each class receives one in-class introduction to land-use in Napa County, and two to five field days in which to get outside to experience restoration, resource conservation, and habitat protection in action from a variety of vantage points.
16 classes from area middle schools and high schools participated in Acorns to Oaks and Youth Stewards in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. Over 690 students were served across a spectrum of sites ranging from ranches, vineyards, parks, farms, and even schoolyards. Students contributed to watershed health, reforestation, and climate adaptation by planting over 1,000 native plants and trees. In addition to service learning, many students get opportunities to engage with role models who are professionals in the field of conservation and agriculture. These local professionals grant students a unique perspective on pathways to continued stewardship and pursuit of environmental science careers and studies.
LandSmart for Kids is made possible by a community of schools, partner organizations, landowners, and funders. Financial support for the program comes from: Giles W. Mead Foundation Watershed Information & Conservation Council of Napa County, North Bay Watershed Association, Friends Of the Napa River, J.L. Davies Agriculture Fund, Napa Valley Community Foundation, Napa County Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Napa County Regional Parks & Open Space District.
Landowners and sponsors are encouraged to contact the RCD to discuss opportunities for supporting future youth stewardship activities.