Formed in 2003 by a group
of 13 volunteer Docents, the Santa Rosa Plateau Foundation has
raised to date over $350,000 to support its mission……to
fund education, research, and preservation of the Santa Rosa Plateau
Ecological Reserve. The Foundation’s first priority is to
maintain the funding and evolution of the children’s outdoor
education program(s) at the Reserve.
The current program is targeted expressly for
third graders and is designed to interface with the State of California
Education Science Content Standards.
It is available to students attending third grade in the seven
local school districts and is offered from September through June,
Monday through Friday. Over the last
ten years over 80,000 students from
70 schools, and from all walks of life, have participated in the
The Metropolitan Water District generously funded
the program which began in 1997.
However, funding ended June 2005 and the Santa Rosa Plateau Foundation
was incorporated to raise funds to continue the program which
costs approximately $120,000 per year. The SRPF has partnered
with the Riverside County Regional Parks and Open Space District
to raise $45,000 per school year. These funds help pay for buses,
curriculum and program materials and staffing. A dedicated and
knowledgeable corps of volunteer Docents, guided by a talented
and experienced Reserve Interpreter, provides hands-on teaching
sessions and hiking excursions for the children. The Docent completes
an eleven-week training program before becoming a Docent.
The Foundation also supports and funds the implementation
of other programs to educate students, families and the public
about the unique nature of the Reserve. An Outreach Program serving
Title 1 schools brings the Reserve to the classroom; a Family
Wildlife Day brings families to the Reserve where they interact
and learn about the live plants and animals of the Reserve; photography
classes are taught at the Reserve to teach students how to capture
spectacular photos of nature; and a first-time publication of
The Plants of the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, chronicles
over 600 plants species that grow on the Reserve.
The Foundation is also working with the University
of California Davis’ Wildlife Health Center to help raise
monies to fund a five-year research project to track the movements
and behaviors of the California Cougar on the Reserve.
The natural and human history of the Reserve
is intimately related to what the students, teachers, families
and the public learn from the education programs funded by the
Foundation. The Foundation attempts to educate the public of the
ecological diversity and uniqueness of the Santa Rosa Plateau
Ecological Reserve while promoting the awareness needed to ensure
its protection and survival.