BIG SUR — Before the summer break, eighth-grade students from San Ardo and San Antonio schools returned to share with classmates their experience on a multi-day outing geared to preserving key habitat in Big Sur State Park.
The South Monterey County students joined California State Park staff in late May to learn how a STEM-based plan is being used to preserve Big Sur’s world-renowned coastline.
Students uprooted invasive nonnative vegetation that is overtaking critical wildlife habitat along the Big Sur River and the redwood groves. Without their intervention, the habitat would transition into a monoculture, leaving the area useless as feeding and breeding habitat for wildlife.
For many, this was their first time visiting a state park and camping under the stars. Jose Ayala, 14, from San Antonio School in Lockwood, now understands the importance of parks.
“They aren’t just picnic places, or a playground, they are home to many plants and animals,” Ayala said. “I want to go camping again because of this trip. The beautiful redwood trees, and the singing of the birds soothe my ears.”
This service-learning program, sponsored by Chevron, is being provided by The Nature Corps, a nonprofit, volunteer conservation organization.