2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 10:00 AM


KERN, Doug, Urban Watershed Project, 3229A Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94121 and BERRY, William B.N., Earth and Planetary Science, Univ of California, 307 McCone MC 4767, Berkeley, CA 94720, dkern@kernsite.com

The Urban Watershed Project and the UC Berkeley Environmental Science Teaching Program joined eight years ago to develop high school environmental science curricula that would motivate inner city youth to become interested in science and gain the necessary academic work in science to enable their application to the University of California and California State College systems. That environmental science academic project has evolved into a successful, tested program that has seen students who formerly would not have been able to enter California higher educational systems do so in increasing numbers. Several are current scholarship holders at UC Berkeley. For the past four years, honors environmental science students from Galileo Academy of Science and Technology visit the Presidio National Park on a weekly basis, to conduct the lab portion of their class. This year the program has been doubled to two classes per week. Students use the latest scientific and electronic equipment to explore the advanced-level environmental science curriculum written by University of California, Berkeley faculty. The first semester work includes investigation of a wide variety of subjects including air and water quality, plant identification, macroinvertebrate diversity and watershed processes. Students are trained to use Geographic Positioning System (GPS) technology connected with Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) to collect scientific data. During the second half of the year students are guided through a process to select their own small group research project, collect data, consult with local experts to complete their investigation and present findings to park officials. Of potential significant interest to educators will be our recent innovations in rapid uploading and analysis of scientific data on a GIS website to accelerate student understanding of the spatial relationships of environmental data, all within the stimulating outdoor laboratory of a national park.