Tuning Our Young into Nature, Not Their Phones

Conservation Collaboration Agreement group at Big Bend on March 6

Community Conservation Collaboration with Save Mount Diablo, Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School, and Bedell Frazier Investment Counselling, LLC

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA—Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School; Bedell Frazier Investment Counselling, LLC; and Save Mount Diablo are getting our young people tuned into nature and building up the bench of future supporters and stewards for the beautiful Mount Diablo natural areas. According to a 2017 report, The Path Ahead, “Today, kids spend less time outside than prison inmates, with the average child playing freely outside for just four to seven minutes a day.”

This report, commissioned by the REI Co-op, notes that the average American now spends about 95 percent of their life indoors. It further reports that we are becoming an “indoor species,” which comes with consequences: “Our health and well-being may suffer. And the less we value our outdoor spaces, the less likely we are to protect them.” To help address such concerns, Save Mount Diablo (SMD), Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School (JM), and sponsor Bedell Frazier Investment Counselling, LLC (BFIC) recently signed and then completed an educational and experiential Conservation Collaboration Agreement.

student at Big Bend during nature soloTed Clement, Save Mount Diablo’s Executive Director, stated, “Save Mount Diablo is incredibly grateful for, and inspired by, Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School and Bedell Frazier Investment Counselling stepping up to learn about, get connected to, and help protect the beautiful Mount Diablo natural areas through our Conservation Collaboration Agreement program. This type of leadership is directly addressing the disturbing trend of ‘nature deficit disorder’ in our modern culture.”

The Conservation Collaboration Agreement has three basic parts. For the first part, on February 25th, staff of SMD provided an educational Mount Diablo area land conservation presentation to the participating and sponsoring employees of BFIC at their office followed by a presentation to the participating JM students at their school.

Second, on March 6th, naturalist Judy Adler and SMD staff taught and led the participating students of JM and the employees of BFIC in the following activities on SMD’s conserved Big Bend property along Marsh Creek Road: a nature service project involving the planting of native California bunchgrasses, a local ecology lesson, and an interpretive nature hike.

students getting introduction to local native plants from Judy Adler

The outing concluded with a solo where each participant sat alone on an oak woodland hillside with incredible views of Mount Diablo. During the solo, students and employees each did a contemplative journal writing exercise reflecting on their part in nature. John Muir, the father of national parks and the modern environmental movement, would regularly make personal, solo time for quiet contemplation in nature—including on top of Mount Diablo.

Finally, in an act of educational and participatory philanthropy, the students worked to raise funds to become members of SMD through SMD’s new discounted youth membership program.

BFIC generously sponsored the Conservation Collaboration Agreement to help get more kids connected to nature and SMD’s time-sensitive land conservation mission.

SMD staff doing restoration work with JMIS studentsRegarding the Conservation Collaboration Agreement, JM teacher Dawn Lezak stated, “The Conservation Collaboration Agreement offers students the opportunity to leave the confines and comforts of the 21st century connected classroom and venture out into local open space on a true field trip. A day hiking along twisted paths, feeling the dirt under their boots, and smelling the fresh air allows for busy minds to slow down.

“As they learn about and experience the natural beauty around them, students can begin to contemplate their role in nature. Through the service project they are better able to measure how their footprint can be restorative rather than destructive. Ultimately, a day outdoors begins to reconnect us all to Mother Earth and reminds us that we can and must protect her.”

Moraga School District Superintendent Bruce Burns stated, “An outdoor educational experience, surrounded by nature, provides students the experience of an ever-changing and free-flowing environment that stimulates all the senses and fosters intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Save Mount Diablo and Bedell Frazier to offer students hands-on land preservation and natural resource learning.”

student eating lunch in an oak treeOn behalf of sponsor BFIC, Michael Frazier, President of BFIC, noted, “As investment professionals, we are honored to be a part of this dynamic group and invest in our next generation. We want to educate our kids on the uniqueness of the Bay Area landscape so they can appreciate its natural beauty. Plus, we want to get kids to spend more time outside!”


Save Mount Diablo

SMD is a nationally accredited, nonprofit land trust founded in 1971 with a mission to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, and watersheds through land acquisition and preservation strategies designed to protect the mountain’s natural beauty, biological diversity, and historic and agricultural heritage; enhance our area’s quality of life; and provide recreational opportunities consistent with the protection of natural resources. Learn more at www.savemountdiablo.org.

Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School

JMIS has a mission to prepare students for the future, to develop a life-long love of learning, to provide a positive and safe environment for learning, to provide positive development of self, and to provide opportunities for students to be constructive and contributing members of the community and society. Learn more at http://jms-msd-ca.schoolloop.com/.

Bedell Frazier Investment Counselling, LLC

BFIC is a local investment counselling business that focuses on investment management, financial planning, smart money, and giving back to the community. Learn more at https://www.bedellinvest.com/.

High resolution images and press release files: http://bit.ly/CCA0320

To see the executed Conservation Collaboration Agreement, visit: http://bit.ly/signedCCA

Image credits: All photos—credit: Al Johnson.

Caption: Save Mount Diablo (SMD) Conservation Collaboration Agreement with Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School (JM) and Bedell Frazier Investment Counselling, LLC (BFIC). The event was held at SMD’s Big Bend property located on Marsh Creek Road in Clayton, CA. Participants included JM students and teachers, BFIC staff, naturalist Judy Adler, and SMD staff and volunteers.


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