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UC Provides Outdoor Science Training to High School Teachers
October 19, 2000

To help improve educational opportunities in field science for high school students from underprivileged schools, the University of California Natural Reserve System (NRS) in collaboration with Univeristy of California Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) successfully completed a summer pilot program, named the HOST (Hands On for School Teachers) Program. For eight weeks, six premier science teachers from around California performed one-on-one outdoor training at NRS reserves. HOST teachers underwent a rigorous field-training course at the NRS's Motte Rimrock Reserve in Riverside County. Then, working independently and directly with an NRS reserve manager, each teacher completed personalized hands-on training at a different NRS reserve across California.

HOST teachers brought their own expertise to this challenging program, attending two workshops at NRS reserves dedicated to creating teaching materials for on-site learning activities. The NRS is providing funding to HOST teachers for reserve fieldtrips, enabling them to apply their new skills and lesson plans with their classes. Apporoximately 800 students will benefit from the HOST Program this year alone.

Through the Host Program, teachers have enhanced their abilitites to make a difference for their students by:
deepening understanding of the scientific method, which can be taught in virtually any natural setting,
acquiring practical skills by conducting hands-on fieldwork,
creating new teaching materials for use during field trips and in the classroom,
gaining the confidence and new strategies to excite students about the environment and engage them in exploratory ivestigation,
starting a tradition of reserve use and making lasting connections with on-site researchers and members of the NRS family, and
establishing a network with other teachers through group work and information sharing.

Ultimately, participation in the HOST Program rejuvenated in teachers a lifelong personal interest in environmental science that they will pass along to their students. In a climate where there are many challenges to public education, the NRS and EAOP aim to provide an environment for enriching the education opportunities for underprivileged schools that may inspire and prepare students to pursue higher education.

Click here to read about the HOST teachers' activities at the NRS Reserves.