Student & Landowner Education & Watershed Stewardship
The Student and Landowner Education & Watershed Stewardship (SLEWS), a Center for Land-Based Learning program, provides agriculturally related educational opportunities for high school students. Through the program, high school students participate in habitat restoration projects, such as hedgerow planting and irrigation, stream bank stabilization, and bird box installation.
The SLEWS Program in Stanislaus County:
Because the East Stanislaus RCD board of directors recognizes this program as an exceptional way to both support conservation efforts and provide a unique, hands-on learning experience for students, the ESRCD will be implementing the SLEWS program within Stanislaus County by identifying interested schools, organizing projects, finding landowners interested in supporting SLEWS, planning field days, and finding mentors and volunteers for the program. Two staff members and one board member will be trained by the Center for Land-Based Learning so that the SLEWS program will be successful in our county.
How SLEWS Involves Students:
Participating high school students will attend 3 to 5 field days throughout the school year, at which they will work directly on habitat restoration projects, such as pollinator hedgerow planting and irrigation, bird box installations, and monitoring of the projects for successful establishment. These field days pack in many activities, including listening to guest speakers, opportunities for the students to speak with professionals related to the projects, writing and journaling exercises, and small-group activities designed to engage students. Curriculum is provided to the schools and meets common CORE standards. Students who have participated in the program have expressed their desire for it to be available all 4 years of their high school career, and some have refocused their areas of study to agriculture as a direct result of their SLEWS experience.