Education Matters: Coalinga students help to preserve natural habitats in California

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Many of us have visited the natural parks that surround us here in the Central Valley but do we know just what it takes to maintain their beauty.

A youth conservation program is teaching students how to preserve our natural habitat.

Nature Corps is an all volunteer program, taking students out of the classroom and letting them experience the environment first hand. They are playing a vital roll in preserving our national parks.

California’s central coast, a place we all enjoy but like many natural habitat if it is not maintained, looked after, cared for it could lose it’s beauty

“The earth is always going to be here but it depends upon us what kind of earth it’s going to be,” said biology teacher Jennifer Lucero. 

Coalinga High School biology teacher, Jennifer Lucero, says that’s a message she gives to her students. Lucero just doesn’t teach them she shows them through her outdoor club.

When she had the opportunity for her students to participate in a service learning project with the Nature Corp at Morro Bay, she jumped at the chance.

“This is my passion getting kids outside and getting them to have an appreciation because you won’t care about something if you don’t love something and you can’t love something if you don’t understand it and you can’t understand it if you don’t experience it.”

Nature Corp is a non-profit agency that engages volunteers to help maintain and preserve our national parks…the agency has a program for students

“The idea is to get them to come and volunteer in the national park and take ownership of the parks. That is what the parks really, really need,” stated executive director Mark Landon. 

The students had a specific task, restore habitat along the bluff trail in Morro Bay state park.

An invasive vine is choking the native vegetation, it is hard work.

“It’s a lot of digging, a lot of raking, a lot of carrying. It’s really tiring but afterwards you feel really good about it cause you know that you’ve stamped your name on this land,” said Coalinga High student Wyatt Thames.

Kids like Wyatt, talk about the hard work but they also say it’s an unforgettable experience. 

“This is the world I live in and I’m helping it so I think I’m making it better, so I think I’m making a change,” said student Zayra Cabrera. 

The student volunteers are also taught basic survival skills and after a full days work they get to enjoy the beauty around them.

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