A Brief History of Canyon Classroom
Following the success of the first annual Canyon Day event in 2008, Mesa College faculty, staff, and students, together with local community representatives, committed themselves to expanding the activities of Canyon Day to reach out and educate local school children. The result of our discussions and planning efforts, and with the cooperation and assistance of faculty and students of the Mesa College Teacher Education Program, Canyon Classroom was born!
Each year, San Diego Mesa College adopts a local elementary school located in the communities surrounding Tecolote Canyon. Second and third graders come to college -- for many a first-time experience -- to learn about the importance of canyons that surround our homes and schools, and their role to maintain, preserve and protect the canyons. Usually held within a week or so following Canyon Clean-up, the students experience guided nature walks through Tecolote Canyon, educational activities that may include art, Native American traditions, garden tours, and experience all things canyon!
The Canyon Classroom tradition continues!
If your school is interested in joining us for a future Canyon Classroom, please call Lina Heil, Mesa College's Information Officer, at (619) 388-2759 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2013, we welcomed the Bayside Community Center to our roster of community representatives on our Canyon Day committee. This year, we are also pleased to host the children enrolled in the Center's Academic Club for Canyon Classroom 2013. Bayside's Academic Club focuses on helping 2nd and 3rd grade students who have scored below average on the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) gain a solid foundation in the English language. Nearly 60 students from Carson Elementary and Linda Vista Elementary School will attend, and participate in educational activities and guided canyon tours.
Mesa College is pleased to host preschool students and teachers from Holmes Elementary School for Canyon Classroom in 2012.
In the Spring of 2011, we were pleased to host preschool students and teachers from the Mesa College Child Development Center for Canyon Classroom. Activities were led by local artist and potter, Sylvia Mejia, who mesmerized the children with family stories of growing up as a Native American girl. Mesa College Interim President, Elizabeth Armstrong also stopped by to say hello.
In the Spring of 2010, over 60 second and third graders from the San Diego Cooperative Charter School and their teachers joined us for Canyon Classroom. Led by Ranger Tracey Walker of the Tecolote Canyon Nature Center, the group ventured into the canyon to investigate local plant and animal inhabitants. The group also learned about sustainable agriculture in Mesa's organic garden, created pottery treasures made in traditional Kumeyaay fashion, and created ecologically-themed art. City Council Member and conservationist Donna Frye stopped by to speak with the students and teachers.
The first Canyon Classroom event was held in April, 2009. Led by Professor Laurie Lorence, head of Mesa's Teacher Education Program, and student Carla Colden, the event was a huge success. More than 50 second graders and teachers from Alcott Elementary School participated in ranger-led canyon walks, organic garden activities, and environmental arts and crafts. Representatives from the Tecolote Canyon Nature Center told stories about the canyon's animals and spoke about the importance of preserving the unique plant and animal species found in Tecolote Canyon. Students event got to meet animals under the care of the college's Animal Health Technology program!