Looking Back: Lessons Learned from Dimond Park Community Day

IMG_1660*Student Blog by Amy White*

Creating the material for the Dimond park pet waste activity was very difficult for two reasons. One challenge was finding the information to piece together games and materials that we could use to educate the community.  The other challenge, which wasn’t as difficult, was collaborating with other team mates to agree and make group decisions. Information gathering is tough mainly due to the fact that there’s a lot of untrustworthy websites with false information or unrealistic numbers that you can potentially run into online. Thankfully, most of the websites that we looked at were accurate.  For example, we relied a lot on the Friends of Sausal Creek website and government-funded websites that have reputable data. After we found the information, we had to figure out how to write more scientific questions in words that the general population could understand.  This was maybe the most stressful part because not everyone knows technical words like Escherichia coli. Everyone in my group was very resourceful, very responsible, and we got the job done.  Making sure we all stayed focused and got the challenging work done was important, but it was a lot of fun.

One thing I definitely had fun with was leading the activity. Basically, we set up a game where there were two wrong answers and one right one; participants had to throw the ball into the right answer and if they were right they got a reward. I was helping to run this game on the day of the event and I felt like a leader, although everyone was a leader of some sort on that day.  One thing that was really difficult for me was to not get frustrated when people didn’t want to participate in the game.  It was hard for all of us at first to walk up to other people and say “would you like to play our game” but I got used to it. Other than that, the activity part of the day for sure was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

One thing that I would do differently, however, was the way we set up the game. I think a lot of people would have enjoyed the game more or as much as we thought if we made it easier. Some people had no idea how to play the game and most people just didn’t have time that day. Although, to be frank, a lot of the participants were children and I’m glad they had the chance to learn something. As for asking people to do the surveys, most people agreed to participate. There was one person who didn’t do a survey and that was just because they didn’t want to but overall it was a very successful outreach day.



Young Women in STEM: How Has STEM Education Helped Me?

In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8th, some of our brilliant leading ladies from Skyline Earth Team took time to reflect on what Earth Team has meant to them this year.  This is what they had to say!

Hands on STEM learning at Earth Team isn’t just science experiments!

“It’s about making you think outside the box. We did things like write surveys, and come up with games and activities.  we learned to write questions to specific audiences, we made community connections, and we got to use artistic expression”.

“Communicating STEM results is really beneficial! It teaches us public speaking and how to be a better communicator, it helps us be more social, and it gives us better communication skills all around”.

Hands On Science means mastering math and technology!

“When we were reading instructions and learning chemical equations for field tests, it helped us understand math and how it is used in the real world.  Doing hands on STEM learning makes science and math concepts make more sense because they are in context of something you really care about!”

Hands on STEM at Earth Team has helped us become better students and people!

“Doing STEM in a program like Earth Team gave us an opportunity to be more active in the world, improve our mentality, and succeed in other areas of our academic life”.

“It has taught us respect, it has given us a work ethic, it helped us learn how to work independently, and it helped us work with other people too!”

“It gives us opportunities to be engaged with our communities in meaningful ways”.

“STEM gives us a deep understanding of the world, showing us what is essential to life”.

“It gives us an opportunity to care about the world and what people know and think”.




Dimond Park Community Outreach Day

IMG_2584On February 10th, Skyline Earth Team brought their first semester project to a close with a community outreach day at Dimond Park! The grassy area by Scout Hut was a perfect place for the team to set up their educational materials and their trivia game, which drew participants from all ages.  Oakland Tech Earth Team joined the party to lead a litter clean-up throughout Dimond Park and nearby Dimond Canyon trails.

This community outreach day gave Skyline Earth Team the opportunity to share all that they learned from the previous months full of surveys, water testing, benthic macro-invertebrate counts, research, and data analysis. This group of young water quality experts took this chance to engage park goers in dialogue about how to be a better water steward by following practices like no dumping and picking up after your pet.

The team was well received by the community, and got a lot of excited responses from people who were already passionate about keeping Sausal Creek healthy as well as from people ready to learn more!  Everyone was excited to see that their months of hard work at Dimond Park paid off with a successful community outreach event!