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Plateau Photography:

Our Mission:
Our goal is to inspire and motivate children to learn and care about the natural world.  We accomplish this by providing children education, research and preservation programs and projects at the
Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve.

Copyright © 2012
Santa Rosa Plateau Foundation.
All rights reserved.


“No Child Left Inside” Environmental Education Programs – Grades 3 – 12

The Foundation’s children environmental programs are developed to reconcile with California Department of Education’s science requirements and augment each participating school and classroom’s natural and environmental science mandates. SRPF funds, develops and implements the following programs:

  • Third Grade (8,000 students per year from 8 school districts and 70 schools)
    In 1994, thanks to funding from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve began a program to introduce third graders to the natural environment in which they live. Many of these children had never been outside a city environment before. They had never walked a trail, seen a coyote, lizard, squirrel, woodpecker or any other animal in the wild. They had no idea of their connection to Nature. The curriculum begins in the classroom and is coupled with an outdoor program at the Plateau. The trail experience is led by volunteer Docents who use age-appropriate story-telling techniques and hands-on experiences to involve the students.

    The children hear about our local history and the Native American influence on the Reserve.
    Since then, over 85,000 children have been through this program. The success of this program is evident in the children's faces, and the enthusiastic way they participate in later discussions in their classrooms. The program sometimes is the first educational connection with children who have had trouble in school. The success is underscored by the children who return to the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve within weeks and bring their parents. Unfortunately, the Metropolitan Water District discontinued the funding for this program after the 2004-2005 school year. The Santa Rosa Plateau Foundation was formed to raise money to continue this extremely important program.
  • Outreach to Title 1 Schools
    The Outreach Program was designed to reach out to those schools and students who, because of funding, language or opportunity may have never been exposed or introduced to the animals, habitats or plants of the natural world. Eight and nine year old bring their own set of experiences and interests to the Reserve. No matter what the previous experience or lack thereof, regarding the outdoors, children benefit from an introduction to the Reserve before they visit. Besides relieving anxieties about wild animals such as snakes and cougars, lessons about the Reserve prior to the visit build excitement and reduce previous time spent on rules and reassurances during their visit.

    The “Animal Letters” sent to classrooms before the school’s visit are also intended to introduce students to the natural history concepts that are required in California’s elementary curriculum. It is hoped that the exposure to such concepts as habitat, food web, and photosynthesis beforehand will better allow the field experiences to these subjects to resonate with the students. By introducing students to the Reserve and these mandated concepts in a classroom setting, the following trip to the Reserve reinforces these biological concepts with hands-on experiences on the trail.

    Title 1 schools (low to moderate income student populations) are invited to participate in the program. A team of volunteer Docents travel to the classroom in advance of school’s visit to the Reserve bringing with them a wide array of displays and hands-on activities. The students get to touch, smell, and study live plants and animal artifacts and displays to prepare them for their trip to the Reserve.
  • Habitat Studies and Restoration Program
    The following programs are developed and implemented in collaboration with Murrieta Valley Unified School District (MVUSD), California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) and the University of California/Riverside’s Botany Department.

    5th Grade Seed Bank Studies
    Students develop an awareness of a public land what restoration means. They will conduct a seed bank study and learn how to grow native plants.

    Middle School Grassland Restoration
    Students gain awareness of how environments and habitats become altered and endangered and how that affects our world. They develop a restoration plan on at least one habitat on the Reserve and learn how to articulate elements of the habitat. Students experience the actual work associated with restoration of an altered habitat, and learn field biology/ecology techniques and terminology in the process.

    High School Habitat Studies and Restoration
    Students develop advanced restoration and field biology/ecology techniques, skills and conclusion analysis. They experience and learn how humans affect and alter the environment. An integral component of this phase of the program is the development of mentoring activities with the elementary students in the 5th grade seed bank study.

  • Family Wildlife Day
    A day in the Fall set aside for families to learn, touch and see the animals that live on and pass through the Reserve. Speakers and hands-on demonstrations are offered throughout the day on a number of topics including turtles, insects, birds of prey and the wonders of wildlife.  Displays of mounted animals, nature games for the children and their parents, and craft activities are conducted. It's a great chance to get the kids away from video games and out of doors on a crisp Fall day.
  • Community Photography Classes (Click Here)
    Community Education Classes are for those who desire to capture and experience different aspectsof the natural world. Class fees are a tax-deductible donation to the Santa Rosa Plateau Foundation in support of the children education programs at the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve.