All in for Earth Day

Location of Field Day:
Stockton, CA

Field Day Host/Partners:
Little Manila Rising (LMR)– Brianna Garcia, Biannette Perez, Koji Lewis, Irene Calimlim and the Urban Forestry Cohort
Ag Innovations – Lupe Garcia and Juliana Birkhoff
PUENTES Urban Forestry Initiative 

Urban Forestry and Community Outreach

Our FARMS students weren’t the only ones to show up and turn up for our 4/22 Earth Day field day! South Stockton let their voices be heard through LMR’s and PUENTES’ community Earth Day event centered around urban forestry and healthy living. 

Our students arrived at Van Buskirk Park ready for some tree planting–BUT FIRST! A stop on the playground because we all know how important it is for each of us to take a little time to play.

So after some swinging, chasing, sliding, and breakfasting, students happily joined Little Manila Rising’s Urban Forestry Cohort and the eager group of Earth-loving community members who had gathered on the sunny Friday morning. After urban forestry experts and trainees provided us with a tree planting demonstration–educating us about the urban heat island effect, impacts of planting trees on biodiversity and climate change, and benefits of planting native trees–, students and community members set off to plant Valley Oaks, Buckeyes, and Redbuds throughout the park. 

After two hours of planting and a break for lunch, students took some time to explore the rest of the event. Local organizations like Kommunity Hub, Healing PUSO (Pilipinx Uplifting Self & Others), Ag Innovations, and a free Covid testing and vaccination tent had set up to share their efforts with the community.

Next we connected (or rather re-connected) with Ag Innovations directly. Let’s back up here: students have actually been working with Ag Innovations for the last several weeks in an effort to contribute to a community outreach effort on the proposed Delta Conveyance Project. Ag Innovations, a nonprofit that convenes dynamic collaborations that create agricultural and environmental opportunities for diverse communities, was hired by the Department of Water Resources to help raise awareness around the ways in which the proposed water supply project may impact Delta communities–and that communities have a right to voice their opinions about it. Several weeks before our field day, CLBL staff and LHA students Zoomed with Ag Innovations to learn all about the project and why the community outreach piece is so key (especially since the proposal is not included on the upcoming ballot!). From there, we left it up to students to decide how exactly they wanted to reach out to community members. Their answer? Hosting a community presentation and discussion about the project; during the first week of May, our FARMS students will host school staff, admin and families to spread the word. In an effort to prepare, we spent a chunk our field day afternoon with Ag Innovations’ Lupe Garcia. She sat down with our students to answer any final questions they had about the project, help them prep outreach materials for the meeting, and lead them through a native seed packing activity. Students plan to distribute these native seed packets that include key information on the Delta Conveyance Project to community members over the next few weeks.

In the final hour of the day, students chose between two different reflection activities:

  1. Half of our students participated in LMR’s Photovoice Project: provided with cameras, students took pictures of and recorded audio on points of pride as well as things they would like to see changed within their community. LMR collects the photos/recordings on an interactive map open to the public that the nonprofit also uses to advocate directly to legislatures on changes community members would like to see. 
  2. As this was our second to last field day of the year, the other half of our students spent some time reflecting on the FARMS program: sharing the high points of the year, the ways in which the program impacted them, and their advice for future FARMS students.

Alongside our celebration of Kai’s birthday, we circled up to reflect on our day. Students’ highlights included the hard work of tree planting, learning from urban forestry trainees, simply soaking in the sun, and reflecting on their own visions for their community through the Photovoice Project. Until our next field day!

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