In the amazing world of teaching no day is ever the same. I guess one might say the only predictable thing about teaching is the unpredictability. Now I’ve heard it said that being an elementary teacher means that I know a little bit about a lot… which I think is far better then knowing a lot about a little bit! Throughout the summer weeks I decided for this year, instead of teaching summer school I wanted to spend my time in class as a student. I attended a week-long course last week learning about the Watershed Institute and how to educate students for the drought and how to utilize environmental education in the classroom.

Monday was spent around Shaver Lake learning about the flow of the Kings River from the mountain streams along the valley floor, meteorology, air pollution, and climate change. The Kings River was originally named Rio de los Santos Reyes (River of the Holy Kings), in honor of the three wise men.

Tuesday I spent my time journeying throughout the Fresno area learning about Pine Flat Dam, the Kings River Conservation District, and the Fresno Irrigation District. It surprised me how many areas of town that I frequently drive by are connected to vital valley water resources! I was able to actually go inside Pine Flat and tour the Dam. It was so amazing to see the Dam from the inside out! Public tours haven’t been allowed since September 11th, so it was a real privilege to have had this opportunity.

Only in Clovis would there be a wastewater treatment facility/pump house that looks this fabulous!

Wednesday’s session was at Scout Island where we participated in learning activities that would be engaging for elementary learners. There were a few camps that were being held while we were there and it was really fascinating to watch the campers be excited about environmental education firsthand.

Thursday we journeyed to Spreckels Sugar plant in Mendota to learn how vital the sugar beet is to the valley. At Spreckels Mendota plant, the beet sugar is processed completely at the plant- thus no waste is produced, and the end product (sugar) is sold to consumers/businesses. Due to the lack of water for the crops, the plant may be in danger of closing September 1st. Amazing how water effects more then we realize!

After our visit at Spreckels, we toured Meyers Water Bank & Wildlife area. Visiting Meyers farms and meeting Mr. Meyers was an extremely valuable experience for me. Meyers Farms is taking a proactive approach to water storage in a unique way in the valley. If you have the opportunity to tour the farms and wildlife project I highly recommend it!