Immersed in Nature: Our Latest Conservation Collaboration Agreement

conservation collaboration agreement service project at mangini

“We so often forget that we are nature too; both humanity and all of our powerful creations. We eat, drink, and breathe just the same as any other life form on this planet, yet it is easy to distance ourselves because of our incredible minds. But our intelligence doesn’t separate us from nature—it simply gives us greater control over its fate.”

Campolindo High School student

Campolindo high school students at Mangini Ranch for a Conservation Collaboration Agreement

Campolindo High students at Mangini Ranch in February 2023. Photo by Ted Clement

During our most recent Conservation Collaboration Agreement at our new Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve, students from Campolindo High School learned about the ecology and history of Galindo Creek and other natural and cultural features of the property.

They also each individually did a contemplative solo in silence on the preserve, reflecting on what nature really means to them.

They spent the day outdoors, learning, privately reflecting, and working to make Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve better for its next visitors.

Service to nature and conservation efforts is an important component of every Conservation Collaboration Agreement with a local school.

Learning and Reflecting

Photo by Haley Sutton

As the students hiked through Mangini, they heard and saw the ephemeral nature of Galindo Creek, how and why it only has water during certain parts of the year.

They learned how the Chupcan tribe utilized the land and the creek, making use of Indian lettuce (formerly known as miner’s lettuce) and other local edible and medicinal plants that can be found at Mangini.

They participated in a contemplative solo in nature with journal writing that afforded solitude in nature, a rarity in today’s fast high-tech world where social media and other distractions constantly vie for their attention.

The only sounds that surrounded them during this time were the songs of the meadow larks filtering through the trees.

Campolindo High School students doing a Save Mount Diablo nature journaling solo at a Conservation Collaboration Agreement program

Campolindo High School students doing a Save Mount Diablo nature journaling solo at a Conservation Collaboration Agreement program. Photo by Al Johnson

In their reflection writings, one student wrote, “To me nature means pure, undisputed possibility, peace, and tranquility. When I sat upon that hill by myself, that was the first time during that day where I really felt in the moment, and alive, as I felt the rush of wind go through my body.”

For young people, it’s a given that their schedule will be filled with school and other obligations that keep them busy and indoors. It’s difficult for them to get the chance to spend the day in nature.

Today, the average kid spends less than 10 minutes daily on unstructured outdoor activities. This lack of time in nature is why we started our Conservation Collaboration Agreement program.

Since the inception of our Conservation Collaboration Agreement program, we’ve completed 21 CCAs, five with Campolindo High School.

Nearly 1,000 students have visited our properties through this program to better connect with, and learn about, nature and Save Mount Diablo’s land conservation efforts.

Completing a Service Project

Campolindo students installing reclaimed wood fence posts. Photo by Sean Burke

For their service project, the students worked hard to install 27 fence posts for permanent fencing around our new pollinator-friendly native plant interpretive gardens at Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve.

The fence posts are all made from reclaimed redwood; this will be the third use in these wood posts’ lifecycle.

Prior to its current use, this wood was used as part of a cattle fence before eventually being discarded. The students learned the importance of using reclaimed materials for this fence and other projects.

“Nature is to me is life itself, without it there is nothing. In a sense nature is a mother to me, she provides for me and she acts as a companion in my everyday life.

“I simply can’t imagine my life without her, and yet she is under stress. She has become a political topic, imagine that, the very mother who selflessly gives to all of us, who allows life itself, to be part of a topic of hate. She has been met with violence and struck down by ignorance.

“I believe if humanity viewed her as a person, if we spent time to get to know her, we would never abuse her kindness. To me nature is a loved one who I wish to protect.”

—Campolindo High School student

Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve

Mangini Ranch Educational Preserve. Photo by Laura Kindsvater

Top photo by Haley Sutton

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