Investing in Our Future
We facilitate non-traditional hands-on, outdoor learning opportunities, for all ages, on the management and sustainable use of our County’s natural resources. Our aim is to provide learning experiences to promote understanding of the interconnectedness of ecosystems and their importance to our everyday lives.
The Coalition is committed to providing K-12 students opportunities to experience and learn about our natural resources. Our programs for youth are fun and involve experienced local landowners/managers and other specialists. They are always designed to support school curricula.
Our Summer Internship Program is our flagship offering. Local landowners and land managers offer 1 to 2-week projects where interns complete needed land management work. This collaboration helps meet community needs while teaching interns valuable skills in natural resource management.
Summer Internship Projects
Stream & Riparian
Host: Eileen Gyllenberg, Gyllenberg Ranch, 2021
Over the course of a week, interns created stream-beds to connect springs to streams and ponds and cleared the overcrowded surrounding forested areas. Excess tree material was used build a maze gate to allow easy access to a fenced area that keeps buffalo at bay. Overall, the land is more resilient to insect pests and wildfires, while supporting greater diversity of wildlife and vegetation.
Photo: Keanna and Brooke (2021 interns) shovel soil and gravel to direct the streamflow from a pond that was constructed.
2019-2020 Outdoor experiences
High School Forest Ecology and Monitoring
A Friday excursion was organized in late October, in partnership with the La Grande Ranger District, Wallowa Whitman National Forest, OSU Extension and The Nature Conservancy to establish a monitoring site on the "East Face All Lands Project" (http://bluemtnwildfirestrategy.org/east-face-lands-project/).
In setting up the monitoring site students learned about the ecology of mixed coniferous forests in the Elkhorn Mountains and the Forest Service’s objectives for management of the East Face of the Elkhorn Mountains, including their strategy for reducing wildfire risk and commitment to support local economic development and recreation opportunities.
Primary/Middle School Activities
Coalition members Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, Baker 5J School District and the US Forest Service support the Baker 5J School District's "Summer Academy" for primary students. Specialists lead nature hikes for students around Anthony Lake (1st & 2nd grades) and to the Hoffer Lakes (3rd & 4th and 5th & 6th grades). Students learn about the ecology and wildlife, geology and cultural history of the area. The hikes are capped off with lunch provided by the Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort and exploration of a marshy area where frogs and salamanders are discovered.