Monthly Archives

June 2017

EarthLab Brings Summer Enrichment to Hundreds of Lincoln Cluster Student

By | Upcoming Events

The first program, the New Summer Readers-Future Leaders (SRFL) is a four-week, full-day, community-based summer learning program offered to 100 rising second and third graders attending two Title I elementary schools in southeast San Diego.  The program engages students in learning experiences designed to reduce summer reading loss, fuel motivation to read, enhance physical and social-emotional growth, and increase exposure to inquiry-based science activities that support new state standards.  The program design is rooted in research-based practices identified by the National Summer Learning Association and other researchers. These practices include at least a 160-hour program that serves children of all reading abilities, the use of strong teachers, small class sizes, opportunities to learn outside the traditional classroom, parent engagement activities, and recreational activities.  


Groundwork’s role in this multifaceted summer program will be to host students from Chollas Mead  and Johnson Elementary twice weekly (per school) for full mornings of outdoor exploration and STEM learning. Students will engage in experiential hands-on science learning opportunities at Groundwork’s four-acre outdoor classroom, the EarthLab.  Student-teachers create opportunities to connect hands-on learning to literacy standards and nonfiction classroom reading activities.  The program will run from June 26-July 21.

The second program, the Summer Learning Academy, will serve as both an exciting enrichment program for students and an intensive professional development program for 12 participating teachers from Knox, Gompers and Millennial Tech. Teachers will team-teach summer school students in the morning. In the afternoon, those teachers will collaborate in a lesson study format, debriefing the instruction from the morning and preparing for the next day. Teachers will develop prototypes of “curriculum portfolios” based on activities field-tested at the EarthLab. Portfolios will include lesson guides, instructional materials required to execute lessons, teachers’ assessments of the curriculum, qualitative evaluation tools—including science notebook entries—and evidence of students’ learning.


For the 50 students in the Academy, morning sessions will be active learning in the classroom and at the EarthLab. Afternoons will be devoted to enrichment activities that engage local educational providers (Living Coast Discovery; Birch Aquarium; Torrey Pines Reserve; Natural History Museuml; Whale Watch San Diego) in the extension of morning instruction.  Parents will be invited  to attend all Academy instructional activities. In addition, they will be invited to participate in four specially designed activities led by Teacher Leaders. They will discuss the problems associated with climate change in general and drought in particular and water conservation solutions that can help alleviate the devastating effects of droughts. Topics will include:

  • Pollution caused by contamination of water by pesticides, fertilizers, gas/oil, and food waste
  • Overwatering lawns and shrubs
  • Excessive car washing and driveways
  • Soil erosion caused by uncontrolled water runoff.
  • Reducing the use of water and reusing water
  • Installing rain barrels
  • Installing systems that reuse greywater from washing machines to irrigate on-site landscaping
  • Landscaping with water-wise plants and native vegetation.

For more information about student registration or to volunteer, please call JoAnna Proctor, Groundwork Education Director, at 619 543 0430.


Groundwork Crew – July

By | Staff Blog

Alex Garcia

The month of May has come and gone. For the most part, everything at EarthLab was as usual. As is the case on a day to day basis. More tasks to add to the list and more tasks to check off the list. Although, the list keeps growing no matter how many times one checks off tasks.

This month, however, was a little more challenging. We were faced with a  water crisis for 1-2 weeks. We had no water at EarthLab which means no way to water the newly planted seeds at the farm and no way to water the plants at the propagation center or the conservation garden. Because of this, quite a few plants didn’t make it and a lot of seeds didn’t sprout at the farm.

After having to order a water truck and getting the water back up and running, all plants are doing a lot better! We have newly planted seeds and a lot of the plants that looked dead have new green leafs! Even though we observe plants as being fragile they are pretty resilient!

Jacob Brownwood

June at the Earthlab has been an exciting month for the nursery and farm! Our rows have been planted, peaches are hanging from trees, and baby plants are emerging from the soil in our propagation center. With the help of two wonderful interns from City College and High Tech High School, along with several Saturday volunteers, our ever-growing number of hands are making things happen!

JoAnna Proctor

June has been a very exciting month for EarthLab Education. All of our participating elementary schools successfully completed their Spring NGSS Science Units across grades 3, 4 & 5.  Young scientists from Horton, Johnson, Baker, Balboa, and Chollas-Meade explored and experimented, while interacting with our beautiful nature space. Several MTM middle school students were awarded special EarthLab Awards for their dedication and commitment to EarthLab projects and programs. Programs included our EarthLab Club, community service projects, and our new “Energizing Our Future” program, where students served as ambassadors to teach the community how to save energy and water at home. Our EarthLab awardees included Meilany, Ashley, Raul, Deja, Adriana, Andrea, Brandan, Nala, Kaya, Eduardo, and Bryan. Congratulations to our EarthLab Keepers!

Looking forward to both of our EarthLab Summer Academies starting soon!