Originally a college-level class created by UC ANR, the Climate Stewardship class has been adapted for high school students at the Audubon Center at Debs Park. Students undergo a sixteen-week program that teaches them about the emotional and societal impacts of climate change as much as the science behind it. Through this, students practice how to become community leaders for the climate through advocacy and hands-on conservation work that embeds the practice of stewardship into them.
Since November, the Audubon Youth Leaders have learned about how climate change impacts communities at large, drafted and carried out fun community activities for our Winter in the Park event, and participated in over 5 habitat restorations, working across different sites within Ernest E. Debs Park and even out to Rio de Los Angeles State Park. They planted an array of native plants at Rio de Los Angeles State Park to help create habitat for the Least Bell's Vireo and just recently weeded a significant portion of the new restoration site down by the Hummingbird Trail near the Center. Melany, our Community Conservation Fellow, worked with them in our nursery, teaching them how to repot plants and the significant ties between native plants and climate.
At the culmination of their program, our Audubon Youth Leaders are tasked with creating a capstone project that ties together climate and community. They utilize the skills they learned thus far to understand how climate change affects their communities, what their communities need to be successful in the face of climate change, and what they can do in the future to carry on this work.
Our hopes are that they will go forth, equipped with the knowledge and know-how of climate stewardship and conservation, and become the next generation of climate stewards for their communities!