Eggs to Fry in the Classroom

Eggs to Fry in the Classroom program facilitates classrooms in the Chico Unified School District to raise anadromous fish, salmon or steelhead, which become the connection between the classroom to the creek environment. They learn how fish are dependent upon a healthy ecosystem and how the creeks in their local community need to be cared for and protected to continually provide suitable fish habitat. Eggs are donated by the Feather River Hatchery and the aquariums are donated and maintained by the Chico Area Flyfisher Association.

Restoration, Ecology and Action

Restoration, Ecology and Action program engages classrooms in the Chico Unified School District in service-learning components that focus on anadromous fish, riparian habitat restoration, and creek ecology. Our objective is to balance the species focus with field trips about restoration of riparian habitat and regional ecology, where students use problem- solving skills to do real-life restoration. This is a service learning component where students do restoration in Bidwell Park as part of the the Park Dept. vegetation management program. Restoration methods start with manually removing or girdling invasive plant species such as Himalayan blackberry, ailanthus, privet, vinca, English ivy, pyracantha, and star thistle. Once exotics have been removed from an area, students plant native trees, shrubs, and grasses to create new habitat.

Kids Get Down To Earth

Kids Get Down To Earth is conducted in the winter months. This component focuses on the physical aspects of our watershed. The program comes to individual schools with activities. Four stations are set up that students participate in. Students are divided into small, manageable groups, typically not more than 10 students per station. Areas of importance are the dynamics of erosion, meandering, floodplains, bedload, water quality and geology. An erosion table and a pollution model are used to study the dynamics of a watershed. These models enables more children with a variety of learning styles to comprehend the many interrelationships of a watershed within earth, life, and physical science curriculums. Other activities include creating a nature journal/workbook, poetry, water quality experiments, and rock classification. Typically, the rock cycle and the water cycle are linked and studied. The focus is always on the unique environment that Chico Area school children have in their own backyard.

Creek Ecology Days: In the Spring

Creek Ecology Days: In the Spring, students from multiple classrooms come together to learn about creek ecology. Groups of students rotate through environmental education stations designed by college students, the Program Coordinator, teachers, and community members. Creek Ecology Days are planned to reinforce standards and units that meet the objectives of teachers, and link with what is being taught in the classroom. Examples of stations include a wildlife station with wildlife loaned by DFG or the Chico Creek Nature Center. A Native American station, designed by a Mechoopda tribe member, uses Indian artifacts as visual aids and hands-on activities to demonstrate how the Mechoopda Indians once lived in harmony with nature along Big Chico Creek and explore how this was possible. A knowledgeable staff member leads a discovery hike where the students are encouraged to discuss what they have learned by participating in the program throughout the year. Students enthusiastically participate in an aquatic invertebrate station where they investigate, classify, and are taught lifecycles of aquatic invertebrates that are integral to the health of the riparian community. This day of activities opens doors to life-long learning and curiosity.