There Go Those Kids In Natureby: Ivonne I. Budianto and Jennifer A. Thorsch

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The Kids In Nature (KIN) program is a partnership between Sedgwick Reserve and the UCSB Museum of Systematic and Ecology (MSE) to serve underrepresented elementary students in the surrounding Santa Barbara school districts. Read on to learn how coordinated classroom learning, field trips, computer simulations, and museum visits brought plant and animal life to “life” as students participated in an authentic restoration effort. While the project described in this article took place on the California coast, the model can be adapted to suit your locale and thus involve your students in an authentic science experience.

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Reviews (3)
  • on Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:06 AM

In this article an ecological restoration project which ran from September 2001 to May 2002 in Santa Barbara, California is discussed. The program called Kids in Nature involved 235 students from 7 elementary schools in 3 districts, they were asked to participate in an authentic science project where they were in charge of tending their own 25 m2 plot of land on Sedgwick Reserve. Each group of five to seven children were tasked in choosing which native plants grew best in the location and climate of the land plot assigned to them. They had to tend to plan the seeds of the plants chosen, until the plants became self-sustaining, which was a long-term process. What teachers can find beneficial from this article is that the students’ involvement in the restoration project derived from a field trip to the reserve. The students on the field trip learned about the restoration efforts of ecologist of native plants and why it was important to restore native plants back into their habitats. The article can serve as an example of how to incorporate a fieldtrip experience into the classroom, since the article gave examples of how students that went on the fieldtrip but were not part of the restoration project still “restored” plants virtually, which gave them the personal experience of being a restoration ecologist. Teachers could benefit from applying the large restoration to a small-scale garden restoration that can become an engaging lesson on native plants through an authentic science experience.


  • on Wed Nov 19, 2014 8:27 PM

‘Kids in Nature’ is a program initiated in California in 2012-2013. Students in several elementary schools learned which plants were native to their climate and elevation and chose a plot where they planted some seeds, seedlings, until they became self-sustaining. This article describes this self-restoration project that reinforced what scientists do and how a local community can benefit from restoration projects. The article documents this project and in some part this project could be duplicated using some of the information gleaned from this article.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:25 PM

This article provides enough detail to set up a similar program with a local nature reserve. None of the websites for KIN are currently active, but a search will bring up additional information on the program and its impact. This would make a great PBL activity in conjunction with community resources or maybe even a state or national park.

Tina Harris  (Fairmount, IN)
Tina Harris (Fairmount, IN)

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