- Author: Maddison Easley
UC SFREC is now at an exciting point in its history where it is able to build off of this early success and hire a full time science educator to expand educational programming at the center.
Ali Stefancich joined the U.C. SFREC community as an Environmental Science Educator at the beginning of August 2016, after completing an environmental education fellowship in Vail, Colorado. Originally from Downsville, New York, Stefancich brings a balanced diversity of experiences from across the nation. Stefancich earned a Bachelor's degree with a focus in ecology from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Working with the Sierra Streams Institute after graduation, Stefancich gained a deep appreciation and expanded knowledge of the vast and valuable Yuba River watershed and adjoining ecosystems.
“In my previous positions, I've worked a lot as a support role helping to instruct different groups or in helping to build the programs. I'm really excited to have the opportunity to be a leader and…put all of my experiences to good use,” shared Stefancich.
Specific programs Stefancich hopes to enhance and facilitate at SFREC include youth centered education, community engagement and investment, as well as collaborations with neighboring agencies and organizations.
Afterschool opportunities, grade and subject-specific field trips for students, and boosted 4-H club interactions are primary avenues being explored to increase youth involvement at SFREC. An open-house style workshop showcasing current research and natural resource topics is in the works.
“One of the main things is to increase our visibility so that the community knows this is a resource and what it is being used for, the research that is being done here, and how that impacts our understanding of natural resources,” shared Stefancich.
Stefancich is highly motivated to build and strengthen relationships with local groups and organizations, as well as strengthen partnerships with U.C. Cooperative Extension, particularly 4-H Youth Development Programs. Excellent headway has been made regionally to connect underrepresented youth to science-rich experiential learning through programs like Youth Experiences in Science (YES) and Water Wizards.
A few of the UCCE programs Ali Stefancich and SFREC will be working with include:
- Sacramento County 4-H Youth Development Program
- Yuba-Sutter 4-H Youth Development Program
- Nevada-Placer 4-H Youth Development Program
- Project Learning Tree
“Another goal is to establish easy avenues to relate the research that's being done here to people who can use it, too. I'd love to get more volunteer involvement and get people really connected with what's going on here,” said Stefancich.
Upcoming outreach and educational events involving SFREC include:
- Nevada County Farm Day – 2nd / 3rd graders - September 22nd, 2016
- Beef & Range Field Day – highschoolers - October 5th, 2016
- Low Stress Livestock Handling School – October 21st -22nd, 2016
Organized by Roger Ingram, Placer-Nevada County UCCE Director and Farm Advisor
- Community Open House – To Be Announced
Ali Stefancich encourages educators, youth program organizers, local agencies and fellow UCANR representatives to contact her to discuss learning opportunities for the near future.
You can reach her through email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone, 530-639-8807.