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Celebrate Earth Month with CBS2/KCAL9 and the Wyland Foundation

An Array of Activities to Celebrate the Earth Across Southern California

KCAL9/CBS2 is proud of its continuing relationship with the Wyland Foundation to promote environmental stewardship and recognize people making a difference on behalf of our planet throughout Earth Month (April 1-30, 2014).

Get involved in one of the following ways:

1) Take the Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation

Last year, residents who took the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation saved water, money and our nation’s most valuable resources. Simply visit mywaterpledge.com, enter the name of your city and make a commitment to use resources more wisely. By doing so, you help other people in your community win eco-friendly prizes like a Toyota Prius Plug-In, Toro wireless weather sensors, and hundreds of gift cards major Home Improvement Stores.

Residents across southern California, led by mayors across southern California, are competing throughout the month of April to see whose city can pledge to conserve the most water. The Wyland Foundation, Toyota, and KCBS2/KCAL9, along with the US EPA’s WaterSense program, the US Forest Service, the National League of Cities, The Toro Company, Byelaunch.com, WonderGroveKids.com, and WaterSmart Software are hosting the competition at mywaterpledge.com to bring residents from every city together to focus on water conservation and pollution reduction in a friendly competition.

The Mayor’s challenge encourages residents to make an online pledge, anytime between April 1-30, to use resources more wisely. In an effort to demonstrate the huge difference individuals can make by working together, the competition applies an individual’s pledge towards their city’s total water savings and pollution reduction over the following year. The city with the highest percentage of participating residents will be recognized for its efforts. This year five national categories include 5,000-29,999, 30,000-99,999, 100,00-299,999 and 600,000 and over.

Participating residents from cities with the highest percentage of people that make pledges qualify to win up to $50,000 in eco-friendly prizes, including a Toyota Prius c hybrid, smart water sensors from Toro, and hundreds of gift cards for major Home Improvement stores.

Last year, people from more than 1,000 cities across the nation took the pledge. In addition to mayors across southern California, over 100 leaders taking the challenge include the mayors of Washington, D.C., Denver, Portland, Oakland, Austin, Stockton, San Diego, and Tucson.

To register free for the pledge, visit the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation online at mywaterpledge.com. Also teachers and parents can visit the new student edition of the Mayor’s Water Challenge at http://www.mywaterpledge.com/students

2) Meet Southern California’s Earth Month Heroes

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Get acquainted with people in Southern California who are making our world a better place. These heroes were selected during a public nomination process for their outstanding contributions to our environment. Each hero will receive a grant for the environmental charity of their choice. Since beginning the program with KCAL9 / KCBS2 and Toyota in 2011, the Wyland Foundation has given away over $25,000 in grants and awards to support our best and brightest. KCBS2/KCAL9, the Wyland Foundation and Toyota are proud to recognize these individuals who are committed to sustainability and have gone out of their way to make the earth a better place. To thank these Earth Month heroes, cash donations will be made on their behalf to the local environmental charity of their choice.

Grand Prize Winner

Ana Gutierrez

Hero Name: Ana Gutierrez

School: Gratts Learning Academy for Young Scholars

City: Los Angeles

Nominated by Maria Butler, who says:

“Ms. Gutierrez is a teacher who goes above and beyond for the children at our school. She is the teacher lead for our student council. Every year she organizes our students for community clean up. Every year, she prepares our third, fourth, and fifth grade students to participate in Kids’ Ocean Day. She leads 60-65 students by teaching them the hazards of street trash and how that trash ends up in our oceans. Many of our students have not seen the ocean and this experience brings to life the effects of the pollution from our storm drains. Ms. Gutierrez is the teacher every principal wants in their school!”

Other winners

Carmelita Arellano

Hero Name: Carmelita Arellano

School: Captain Leland F. Norton ES

City: San Bernardino

Nominated by Elizabeth Cochrane-Benoit, who says:

“Carmelita Arellano with the support of her students and 5 grade teacher team continue to work tireless to help revitalize Seccombe Lake Park. Carmelita created an environmental science unit to support her initiative of one student, one family at a time saving our community park. Seccombe Lake Park is located across the street from our school. The park had been overrun by, transits, the homeless, and other illegal activity. Mrs. Arellano had the vision to restore the park for students and families living in the community. Each week with the support of parents, teachers, and students Carmelita leads the charge of cleaning the park. At the end of this project her goal is that there will be a community garden, composting, walking trails, fish restocked in the lake and a place where the community and others can come enjoy the great outdoors.”

 Pamela Conti
Hero Name: Pamela Conti

School: The Pegasus School

City: Huntington Beach

Nominated by Jaime Kunze-Thibeau, who says:

“I have never met someone as passionate about education and the environment as Pam Conti. She has taken the school from small classroom discussions and lessons about the environment to being a leader in environmental sustainability and community action. She created an outdoor classroom at Pegasus called the “Kinder Garden” which supports the preschool through eighth grade curriculum. Within this garden the students grow crops, compost food from lunch, harvest crops, and much more. She has also created a 6th grade sustainability class, developed an Algalita research group, gen erated a “Green Team” of parents, teachers, and students, and has become an educational director for Surfrider because of her work with the students. She led students to the Huntington Beach City Council to speak and rally for the ban of plastic bags within our city, and is now working towards a Styrofoam ban amongst the local restaurants. She spent this past weekend with a group of our middle school students at the Algalita Youth Summit at the Dana Point Ocean Institute. She is innovative as well, working towards the finalization of plans for our schools installation of a sustainable aquaponics system that can be used for education, research, and eventually as a means of providing our local food banks with food. She has already worked with her husband and their new nonprofit to create a fully sustainable and functional aquaponics system at our sister school, the Crossover Academy, in Kenya. Understanding and protecting the environment is in her blood and it impacts ever yone around her. Watching the passion for the environment that the students develop is what makes her stand out above the rest. She never stops working and her love for a sustainable world is contagious. She is truly an Earth Hero!!

 Shelley Kelley
Hero First Name: Shelley Kelley

School: Journey School

City: Aliso Viejo

Nominated by Shaheer Faltas, who says:

“Shelley Kelley is the kind of teacher every school administrator wishes to hire. I first met her in the school’s garden 4 years ago as a teacher candidate. Instead of waiting in the office for her interview, Shelley made use of her time and watered our thirsty gardens, in high heals. I hired her on the spot. I have never regretted my decision. Shelley is currently our Grade 6 Teacher. She has traveled with the same students since Grade 4. Together, they have accomplished wonderful things and her positive impact on their development is immense. Consider that: Shelley’s students ser ve as campus stewards 1-2 hours each week. Her students maintain our gardens in close partnership with parents, other classes, and the OC Master Gardeners—who mentor the kids. Shelley has deeply integrated environmental education into the core curriculum and her colleagues are now inspired to do the same. Each week, Shelley’s students present best gardening practices to stakeholders during campus tours. As result, the students are teaching adults invaluable gardening techniques, like proper composting, pruning, and rain- water harvesting. Earlier in the fall, Shelley’s students presented at the CA Department of Education’s annual Green Summit. No other students from the State were present. Shelley also co-leads the school’s award winning Compassionate Campus project—which weaves important virtues into the cultural fabric of the entire school. And, thanks to Shelly the school recently received a $20,000 gift to fund ongoing community service activities and pro ject-based learning with an environmental impulse. On top of all this, student academic achievement has never been higher as measured by a variety of assessments, including standardized tests.”

Wendy Hagan

Hero Name: Wendy Hagan

School: Granada Hills Charter High School

City: Granada Hills

Nominated by Larua Henriques, who says:

“Wendy Hagan is a high school biology teacher at Granada Hills Charter HS. Her classes have a strong environmental education focus. Mrs. Hagan has long incorporated elements of the Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) Curriculum into her classes. A hallmark of Next Generation Science Standards is engaging students in science and engineering practices. This is also something that has long been a part of Mrs. Hagan’s teaching. Wendy worked with CSULB biologist Dr. Christine Whitcraft to create a real-life science project for her students. Using Whitcraft’s wetland ecology data, Wen dy’s high school biology students developed and answered scientific questions. As part of the project the students visited the wetlands and participated in wetland restoration. There were a series of 50 lessons that preceded Project G.R.O.W. (Guiding Research On Wetlands), the student data-driven research project. During the project students developed scientific questions related to the Talbert Wetlands in Huntington Beach. Student research questions examined relationship between biotic and abiotic features of the wetlands. After students came up with researchable questions they analyzed Whitcraft’s data, did additional research, came to conclusions, and communicated their findings to peers and an adult audience. They wrote scientific papers and did oral presentations. Students’ understanding of science and the nature of science increased. Additionally, they showed increased awareness for the environment and the role they can play in restoring and maintaining healthy ecosystems. Development and implementation of Project G.R.O.W. was Hagan’s master’s thesis. Not content to simply develop a rigorous, thoughtful learning experience for her own students, she felt compelled to share this project with other teachers. Together with Dr. Whitcraft, they offered a three-hour workshop for California teachers at the 2013 California Science Education Conference hosted by the CSTA. They shared the curriculum, worked through activities with the teachers and described how other ecosystems could be used for this environmental education project. Use of real scientific data in the high school science classroom, while not entirely novel, is nowhere close to commonplace. The process developed by Hagan and Whitcraft can be replicated elsewhere. Using real data, collaborating with a scientist and visiting the site combined to make this a rich learning experience for students that helped connect them to their local environment. They finished this research project with a greater appreciation for the value of wetlands and their local environment. That is a lesson that will last them well beyond the end of the course. Mrs. Hagan’s classroom work on environmental education is worthy of recognition. It goes well beyond what most teachers do. Collaboration with the scientific community and selfless sharing of the project with other teachers makes her truly worthy of this award.”

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3) Discover the wonder of our planet with the Wyland Foundation

PHOTOS: Wyland Foundation’s Earth Month Kick-Off

Founded by environmental artist Wyland, the Wyland Foundation is actively engaged in teaching millions of people around the country about caring for our ocean, rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands. Take a walk through the foundation’s famous clean water mobile learning center at events across southern California throughout April or request this one-of-a-kind educational experience be sent to your child’s school. Discover more at www.wylandfoundation.org

Annual Earth Day Event

April 10

Chino Basin Water District

4594 San Bernardino Street, Montclair

1,400 fifth graders will spend their day at various activities, including such topics as characteristics of drought tolerant plants, worm composting, how rivers run, and how water percolates into the Chino Groundwater Basin

Closed to public

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Earth Day Festival

April 12, 10 a.m.

Bolsa Chica Conservancy

2842 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach, CA

Free family event. Visitors will have the opportunity to touch a live snake, count migrating birds, learn about pollution, test the water, and much more! Alongside a multitude of educational activity booths, the festival will also include a jump tent, food sales, and guided tours of the reserve!

Open to public

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Sweet Earth

April 12, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Sweet Earth

Hollywood / Highland Center, 6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles

An earth month celebration on Hollywood Boulevard, including the Wyland Clean Water Truck, live mural painting, and chocolatiers and candy makers creating iconic “eco-creations” with free tastings for the public. A percentage of all proceeds from SWEET! on April 12 will directly raise funds for the Wyland Foundation environmental arts and education programs.

Free to Public

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Art Outside the Box 

April 19, 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.

Presented by Aliso Viejo Library

One Journey, Aliso Viejo

The Wyland Foundation will be assisting children in “kooshing the canvas” Dipping koosh balls in paint then throwing them at the canvas to create a mural of artwork that will hang in the library. A certified Zentangle instructor will be educating and assisting in the creation of zentangle art which will then be displayed in the Library’s foyer display case. Library staff will host a “paint your cookie” area.

Phone: 949-360-1730

Open to the Public

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Downtown Disney

April 22, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Celebrate Earth Month with the Wyland Clean Water Mobile Learning Experience at Downtown Disney

Free to Public
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4) Check the KCBS/KCAL events calendar for other eco-friendly events happening throughout Earth Month.

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