Carlsbad Students Engage with Local Environmental ‘Gem’

Carlsbad Charitable Foundation Makes Grant through Carlsbad Educational Foundation to support over 800 third graders at Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

Carlsbad, CA – The Carlsbad Charitable Foundation (CCF) and Carlsbad Educational Foundation (CEF) have teamed to provide funding and support to enable more than 800 Carlsbad third graders awaken the need to appreciate and care for the local natural environment during the upcoming school year.

Every third grader in the Carlsbad Unified School District (CUSD) will be able to participate in the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation’s “Third Grade Academy for Environmental Stewardship,” thanks to funds recently donated by the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation. As part of its annual grant-making process, CCF released nearly $60,000 to help support local programs that promote greater awareness and involvement in issues related to the environment and conservation.

As the largest grant recipient, the Carlsbad Educational Foundation will manage funding and transportation with the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation (AHLF) to provide “hands-on” demonstration classes that stress responsible interaction with the natural surroundings and create an awareness of the impact of day-to-day human activities. The Lagoon Foundation’s innovative program includes hands-on learning experiences for small groups of students, eight hours of instruction at the Lagoon’s Discovery Center, and professional “edu-tainers” to enhance the curriculum, along with games, props, and outdoor activities to engage the students in lagoon resources.

This program, which reinforces CEF’s goals to enrich education through hands-on science and innovative teaching techniques, is being made possible through a generous grant from the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation. Specifically, the grant will provide funds to sponsor third grade classes at all nine CUSD elementary schools, including costs for the AHLF and transportation for two immersive visits this year.

“We are thrilled to have the Carlsbad Unified School District third graders returning this year, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Carlsbad Educational Foundation and the grant we were awarded by The Carlsbad Charitable Foundation,” said Lisa Rodman, AHLF executive director. “Watching the students thrive in this hands-on learning fieldtrip experience is definitely a memory maker for both the students and adults who are in the audience.”

The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation and Discovery Center serve a vital role in the North County area as the official stewards of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon and watershed. As the impacts of development continue to encroach on the remaining wetlands and wildlife of the region, the Lagoon Foundation strives to educate about the importance of maintaining the beauty and vitality of the lagoon while ensuring a balance of recreational opportunities. In 2006, AHLF launched the Academy for Environmental Stewardship for local third grade students.

The Academy delivers an in-depth, participatory curriculum through a series of four annual on-site visits to AHLF’s Discovery Center on the southern shore of the lagoon. The curriculum is aligned with specific California State Academic Standards for Social and Life Sciences. Students arrive at the Discovery Center and are provided with an overview of the day’s topic before breaking into smaller groups and then rotating through stations with instructors who use hands-on and interactive activities to bring the lessons to life. At the end of the day, the groups come together for a larger activity or presentation by an “edu-tainer” pertaining to the day’s topic.

“The Carlsbad Educational Foundation is thrilled about this partnership,” said Valin Brown, CEO of the Carlsbad Educational Foundation. “Over 800 CUSD students benefit through immersion in this local environmental gem—the Lagoon Foundation’s Discovery Center—while a generous group of civic-minded philanthropists help make it all possible. We are very fortunate to have the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation as a key partner in our community.”

Funds from the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation were donated in 2008-2009 to help expand the Science Olympiad Program from Valley Middle School to all three middle schools throughout Carlsbad. Since then, CCF has funded local needs in the area of education, health & human services, civil society and the environment. Its next focus area will be arts & culture.

About the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation

Inspired by the desire to build philanthropy in Carlsbad that would have impact immediately and forever, a group of citizens partnered with The San Diego Foundation to establish the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation in 2007. This community-specific effort helps meet the emerging needs of Carlsbad by encouraging and increasing responsible and effective philanthropy by and for those living and working in Carlsbad. For more information, visit http://www.sdfoundation.org/CommunityFoundations/CarlsbadCharitableFoundation.aspx

About the Carlsbad Educational Foundation

The Carlsbad Educational Foundation (CEF) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that was founded in 1983 to raise private support for public education and the enrichment of nearly 11,000 students in the Carlsbad Unified School District. CEF develops, conducts and finances innovative, quality educational programs and projects. Since its inception, the foundation has contributed over $5 million in funds to Carlsbad schools, primarily for science, technology, arts and reading. In 2010 – 2011 alone, the foundation released nearly half a million dollars in support of K-5 music programs, hands-on science, and educationally innovative programs. CEF also operates a Summer Enrichment Program, high school Summer Academy, and Kids’ Care, a comprehensive before- and after-school K-5 childcare program. For more information, visit www.carlsbaded.org.

About the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation

Established in 1990 as a non-profit 501c(3) corporation, the mission of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation is to preserve, restore and enhance the Agua Hedionda Lagoon and its wildlife, marsh, wetlands and watershed areas, to protect sensitive land through acquisition or other means, and to enhance public stewardship of the Lagoon through a broad spectrum of conservation, education and outreach activities. The Foundation serves as an advocate for the Lagoon and strives to preserve its natural healthy ecosystem and habitat including wildlife and marine life, while at the same time balancing the need for public access, trails and recreational opportunities. For more information, visit http://www.aguahedionda.org.