Save Mount Diablo (“SMD”) and Campolindo High School (“CHS”) signed a Conservation Collaboration Agreement on April 16, 2018 to honor and help protect the Mount Diablo natural area in recognition of Earth Day. April 2018 Conservation Collaboration Agreement
SMD’s Conservation Collaboration Agreement program is one part of the organization’s larger Community Conservation initiative, and is built upon the wisdom of Aldo Leopold’s “Land Ethic,” the proven power of solos in nature, and the recognition that we must all do more than just business as usual to help address the widely documented “Nature Deficit Disorder” in our modern, wired society.
SMD’s Conservation Collaboration Agreement program is for local schools and businesses, and there are three parts to implementing each Agreement. First, SMD staff members provide in-class educational presentations about land conservation of the Mount Diablo area to participating students and/or employees. Second, SMD staff then lead the participating students and/or employees in an experiential environmental service project (e.g., planting native grasses and trees) on one of SMD’s conserved properties and this outing also includes a solo on the land for each participant where they do a contemplative journal writing exercise about nature and their part in nature. Finally, in an act of educational and participatory philanthropy, the students and/or employees raise funds so that they can become members of SMD. SMD has a youth membership program with discounted rates.
Aldo Leopold is considered by many to be the father of wildlife ecology and the United States’ wilderness system, and his “Land Ethic” is famously captured in his following statement: “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” He presented his “Land Ethic” as a set of values that naturally grew out of his lifetime of experiences in the outdoors. Leopold wrote that “we can only be ethical in relation to something we can see, understand, feel, love, or otherwise have faith in.” He believed that direct contact with the natural world was crucial in shaping our ability to extend our ethics beyond our own self-interest.
The solo (i.e., quiet and contemplative alone time in nature) is a proven way for people to grow their roots in nature. The Outward Bound School has been successfully utilizing the solo in nature since 1961, and the power of a solo in nature has also been recognized and demonstrated by many Earth centered cultures and traditions for eons.
On April 16th, after signing the Conservation Collaboration Agreement, SMD staff provided educational presentations about land conservation in the Mount Diablo area to 5 A.P. Environmental Science classes at CHS. On April 23rd, CHS students and SMD staff will go to one of SMD’s conserved properties for an environmental service project and solo.
“Young people have the most at stake when it comes to the health and well-being of our natural world so we are grateful for the administration, teachers and students at Campolindo High School stepping up to ensure their students are better connected to nature, informed about the importance of land conservation in the Mount Diablo area, and helping steward our natural lands,” said Ted Clement, Save Mount Diablo’s Executive Director.
“The partnership between Save Mount Diablo and Campolindo High School will provide local students with a unique opportunity to both learn about our environment and serve the community,” stated CHS Principal John Walker. “The students will refine their scientific skills and learn how to become stewards of our local resources.”
“The Campolindo Science Department is passionate about providing our students with outdoor education and stewardship opportunities that connect them with the natural world. We are thrilled to be working with Save Mount Diablo, as they are providing our students with both, as well as providing excellent role models who are acting locally to protect land on behalf of people, and on behalf of wildlife. There is much bad news when studying environmental science – it is very encouraging and empowering for our students to engage with an organization that is accomplishing so much in terms of land conservancy and habitat restoration,” said CHS Teacher Jane Kelson.
CHS Teacher Tren Kauzer added, “Campolindo Environmental Science students are so excited to partner with Save Mount Diablo to turn their passion into action, practice what they have been learning about all year long, and work to restore such an important environment so close to their community.”
Save Mount Diablo
SMD is a nationally accredited, non-profit land trust founded in 1971 with a mission to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, and watersheds through land acquisition and preservation strategies designed to protect the mountain’s natural beauty, biological diversity, and historic and agricultural heritage; enhance our area’s quality of life; and provide recreational opportunities consistent with the protection of natural resources. Learn more at www.savemountdiablo.org.
Campolindo High School
CHS has a mission to foster academic achievement and cultivate personal growth in a supportive educational community to prepare all students for a successful future. Learn more at www.acalanes.k12.ca.us/campolindo/