Lake Tahoe, Stateline, NV — Local agencies and organizations are ramping up their efforts to educate area students about environmental issues at Lake Tahoe.

Agencies understand the importance of teaching students about the environment. “Tahoe will one day be in the hands of these students,” said Devin Middlebrook, Environmental Education Specialist at Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, “it is important to instill in them the knowledge and passion for protecting it.” By putting a renewed emphasis on education, agencies are hoping the next generation will continue preserving Lake Tahoe for many years to come.

At the core of the environmental education effort is the South Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition. This network of more than 20 local agencies and organizations is dedicated to bringing high quality environmental education programs and projects to Lake Tahoe youth. The group puts on a number of events every year for students across all grade levels in the Lake Tahoe Unified School District.

Earlier this month, students in kindergarten to fifth grade went through a Wonders of Water Expanded Edition program. Interactive stations taught students about watershed health, water conservation, fish life cycles, aquatic and terrestrial insects, food webs, water cycles, water quality, and invasive species. Sierra House Mountain Academy, Tahoe Valley, Bijou, and the Environmental Science Magnet School all participated in the program.

The third annual Tahoe Basin Watershed Education Summit, led by the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, was held during the first week of October. High School students from four Basin schools came together for this three-day event. Twelve area agencies, organizations, and partners provided students hands-on experience with environmental restoration work. This included mapping and pulling invasive weeds, collecting stream cross section data and pebble counts on the Upper Truckee River, soil data assessments, and bird banding.

On October 20 and 27, the Sugar Pine Foundation hosted a field trip to the Angora Ridge area for South Tahoe Middle School sixth graders. Over two days, students planted nearly 300 sugar pines in the Angora Fire burn area. Students also learned about fire prevention, drought, erosion control, and stormwater management.

The Great Basin Outdoor School on the East Shore of Lake Tahoe hosts overnight educational programs for students from a variety of areas. In October, TRPA staff spent a day educating a group of students from Auburn and El Dorado Hills about the history of Lake Tahoe, aquatic invasive species, erosion control, and local environmental protection efforts.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency leads the cooperative effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, while improving local communities, and people’s interactions with our irreplaceable environment. For additional information, call Devin Middlebrook, Environmental Education Specialist, at 775-589-5230.