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Watershed Mural Inspires Student Learning and Creativity

The League’s strives to integrate art into all of our environmental education programs. Art is such an important outlet for students to express what they learned in a creative way and to teach others about their experiences.

This spring, 4th and 5th-grade students from Allendale Elementary School in Oakland, created an expansive mural in their school garden, depicting their watershed — from the mighty redwoods up in the hills, to the San Francisco Bay shoreline. All animal and plant illustrations were drawn and painted by the students with assistance by Miranda Bergman, a famous muralist who painted the MaestraPeace Mural (external link) at the Women’s Building in San Francisco.

This project is the culmination of the student’s Explore Your Watershed Program where they had classroom lessons and two field trips, one to the redwood forest, and one to the bay where they learned how these two habitats are connected through their watershed. The idea behind this mural was to have the students educate their school community on watersheds and all the different plants and animals that live in these habitats. It was also a dream of a dedicated teacher who envisioned this mural for ten years.

“I cannot thank you enough for bringing this amazing opportunity to my class for the past couple of years. This mural has been a dream of mine forever and something the students will be proud of for years to come.”
– Janet Jackson, Allendale teacher

“The field trips were all really fun. I remember at Crab Cove, when we got to catch fish and I got wet. And I remember playing a game in the redwoods where we had to find a tree, blindfolded.”
– Yancy, Allendale student

“I am so thankful to the League for having an education component to their work. The students are in need of these types of programs and art can contribute so much to their learning.”
– Miranda Bergman, muralist

The hope is that programs such as Explore Your Watershed will have a lasting impact on not only the students, but also their families and greater school community, so everyone will have a desire and opportunity to explore their watershed from the redwoods to the bay.

This project was made possible by funding from the California State Coastal Conservancy.

To learn more about our education programs visit our programs webpage.


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About Deborah Zierten

Deborah joined the League's staff in 2013 as the Education & Interpretation Manager. She brings with her extensive experience teaching science, developing curriculum and connecting kids to the natural world.



Photo by Miguel Vieira, Flickr Creative Commons

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