Our community role
The Rod Shippey Facility is designed to be a world-class, flexible, and innovative educational facility that will serve the people of North Coastal California. We anticipate that many different audiences will come to this place for educational opportunities, including local students, landowners, those involved in sustainable agriculture, people who enjoy natural history, and many others.
We have already begun working with staff and administrators of local and county schools so that programs can be developed to enhance science education for students. In 2009, we developed and pilot-tested an educational outreach program in natural science to meet the State Educational Standards, targeting grades 7-12. This included 2-week “summer institute” targeted toward MESA (Math Engineering Science Achievement) 8th-grade graduates. A main objective was to introduce under-served students to “real-world” science and scientists (via contact with faculty, graduate students, and others working at HREC). A pre- and post-institute exercise revealed a very positive outcome: students, when asked to “draw a scientist,” initially drew a middle-aged or older white man in a lab coat. After their institute experience, their drawings were varied, based upon personal interest, and accurately reflecting scientists’ ethnic, gender, and age diversity, showing people dressed in a variety of field gear from shorts to waders. Our new facilities will be ideal for hosting such student institutes, as well as to conduct teacher training symposia and continuing education classes.
We will also be able to established our Center as the ‘home base’ of the new UC California Naturalist program, providing teaching resources and space to train certified Naturalists to become docents, educators, and citizen land stewards. This program promises to reach a large, diverse audience in a short period of time and to effect changes in societal behaviors toward resource use, putting its theme – Discovery • Action • Stewardship – into practice. Graduates of this program will be invited to serve as Hopland Docents, volunteering to assist in developing and implementing our Center’s educational outreach programs.