Students learn science and conservation in a one-of-a-kind outdoor school

ByTim Sarquis Localish logo
Tuesday, April 30, 2024
Students learn science and conservation in a one-of-a-kind outdoor school
SCICON helps students and future generations learn the importance of protecting our home.

Springville, CA -- In the foothills of Tulare County, CA, SCICON welcomes students to learn the importance of science and conservation. SCICON, short for the Outdoor School of Science and Conservation, is run by the Tulare County Office of Education. Over 8,000 fifth and sixth graders visit the school throughout the year.

"This place is magic." Dianne Shew is the director of SCICON. "Our purpose here is to have fifth and sixth graders from all over our county, come and learn about nature, how to take care of the earth. But most importantly, we like them to learn about their self and get some respect for each other and themselves." SCICON covers 1,170 acres and borders National Forest land, making sure the area will be persevered for generations to come. Students are able to take hikes that range from easy to difficult, learn about aquatics and visit a museum featuring items and animals found in the local area.

We have one earth...we can all make a difference.

Gavin, a sixth grade student enjoys the fresh mountain air and realizing how our actions impact the earth. "It makes me feel like I'm living in the woods. It feels good. It makes me more aware of the effect that humans have on the earth and how animals die needlessly."

In early 2023, the area was hit with major flooding from historic rains that pummeled California, causing extensive damage to SCICON, including its fragile salamander habitat. Because of that, the Friends of SCICON organization was awarded a grant from the Disney Conservation Fund to support global efforts to protect, restore and celebrate our home. The grant money will be used to help restore the salamander's habitat. "Tulare County is a poor county," says Shew "and all these kids that come here, they're going to be excited about getting a better chance to study the salamanders."

In addition to the grant, Disney "VolentEARS" put on gloves and picked up shovels to help remove some of the sand and dirt that was left by the flooding, to help revitalize the salamander's habitat. With the help of the grant, Shew believes this will help instill a love of our home for future generations. "We have one earth. If we can get each child here, go home, do one thing, tell one other person to do one thing, we can all make a difference."

Disney is the parent company of this station and ABC Localish.