The CCE Environmental Enrichment Program operates under our school's PTA known as SIPAT. Our aims is to build a platform on which students can be immersed in placed-based and hands on lessons relating to smart environmental management practices. The nurturing of a culture of environmental stewardship that embraces the school’s core values of social and environmental justice is an overlying objective. The program’s primary focus is on:
Outdoor Experiential Education
The EEP aims to expand opportunities for hands-on learning in the campus outdoors. It is envisioned that the incorporation of different teaching and recreation spaces relating to the growing of food, the propagation of native and dryland habitats, hydrology and soil health into the CCE education toolbox will promote the fundamentals of responsible environmental stewardship and sustainability.
CCE's first food gardens were created some 20 years ago to "add color and beauty to the campus landscape". They have proved to be an effective teaching tool to establishing basic principles of food production and have included aspects of social studies, math, science, art, literature, writing, nutrition, cooking and recycling. A garden guide including lesson plans, planting calendars, gardening skills and working with children has been compiled for each grade level. The EEP aims to build on these materials by including environmental concepts and principles studies with existing food gardens curricula.
The EEP continues to build strategic support partnerships within the resource-rich CCE community. The University of California Davis is an important emerging CCE partner and the EEP aims to provide cutting edge opportunities for students of early education, sociology, urban agriculture and ecological studies to be involved with its outdoor program.
A school campus as rich and diverse in its ecology as it is in its culture!
The EEP considers the entire outdoor campus a teachable environment and includes approaches such as the reduction in the use of single-use plastics, the seeking of alternatives to minimize the excessive use of water for outdoor non-potable uses and the planting of shade trees along south-facing school buildings to reduce the high energy demands of cooling systems. The creation of ‘wildlife’ zones throughout campus will improve the state of local biodiversity offering conservation opportunities such as the establishment of monarch butterfly habitat. Click here for more information on the EEP’s Concept Development and Schoolyard Habitat plan.
In conjunction with the DJUSD and CCE the EEP aims to install outdoor infrastructure that is representative of the wise and sustainable use of natural resources. Water use is an important theme of this and, to date, a number of teachable facilities have been constructed. With funding from SIPAT CCE’s outdoor classroom, rainwater swale and north gardens was constructed on a wasteland that was created with the building of the new north campus classrooms in 2016. In addition two small capacity rainwater cisterns provide the means to support food and herb gardens reducing the demand on treated potable water supplies for non-potable water use needs. The DJUSD has authorized the installation of two large capacity rainwater cisterns that could meet all north campus non-potable water use needs in the future. Read more about green infrastructure here.
EEP Committee Members
Julia Seebach (Co-Chair)
Julia has a Bachelor’s degree in graphic design along with a background in fine arts. She is passionate about promoting environmental stewardship to children and advocating for regulations that protect our environment. She incorporates art with science and gardening through hands on projects at CCE. She is also the manager and founder of a marketing company, Downtown Grid Inc., which promotes small, locally owned businesses in downtown Sacramento through social median, an online Sacramento city hub and a shopping and dining guide.
Amber Husten (Co-Chair)
Amber has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in social work, and she holds an active license as a clinical social worker in California (L.C.S.W). Amber is interested in the connection between nature and improved mental and physical health for children and adolescents. Amber specializes in the mind-body connection, mindfulness, mediation, and is a registered 200-hour yoga teacher.
Paul Havemann (Adviser and former Co-Chair)
Paul has a bachelor’s degree in conservation biology and a master’s in environmental development and biodiversity management. Prior to immigrating to the US from South Africa in 2009 he worked for the biodiversity management agency Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in rural KwaZulu-Natal Province. Currently he is a member of the stewardship team managing University of California Natural Reserve System properties in California's Coastal Range. He is also pursuing business interests promoting best management practices that aim to address domestic water needs in the Central Valley and in rural South Africa.
If you are interested in receiving information on the EEP, attending a committee meeting, or signing up to volunteer please click here.