Plumas Charter School’s Outdoor Education Program is the recipient of a $447,000 grant from the California State Parks Outdoor Equity Program. The program’s goal is to increase the ability of residents in underserved communities to participate in outdoor experiences at state parks and other public lands.
Outdoor Education Coordinator, Courtney Gomola wrote the grant proposal focusing on Indian Valley to address trauma from the Dixie Fire. “Through this grant we hope to help students process wildfire trauma by reconnecting to the outdoors in low-stress activities locally, and taking them to natural areas in other parts of the state where they have no negative histories,” she said.
Gomola met with PCS students, parents and site-leads to come up with the key points of the post-fire program. In addition to rediscovering nature and developing outdoor skills, she emphasized that they will also “work with students and community members to play an active role in ecosystem restoration and rebuilding a sense of place in Indian Valley.”
The grant will fund a coordinator and assistant for the program in addition to activities and field trips. Some highlights include camping trips to state and national parks, planting native tree saplings and flower seedlings on burnt properties, monthly skills classes, certifications in wilderness first aid, winter-sport sessions at Coppervale and many more outdoor opportunities.
While the program focuses on Indian Valley, PCS students from Chester and Quincy will be invited to participate as space allows. “We already see traumatic impacts of the fire on our older students and that it is present but latent in our younger students. By proposing this multi-year program of developing understanding and skills in outdoor education and recreation, we hope to create opportunities for all the participants involved to rediscover nature as a place of joy, healing, and peace, and continue to cultivate these connections into adulthood,” said Gomola.
To learn more about Plumas Charter School, visit www.plumascharterschool.org.
Rachel Goings is the public relations specialist for Plumas Charter School