The 2020-2021 school year brought many opportunities, as well as challenges, to the Castro Valley team. While the team met almost entirely online through the year due to COVID-19 regulations, this didn’t stop the team from making a positive change in their community! Motivated by their interest in learning about environmental topics and developing research skills, Castro Valley interns were able to get outdoors to test air quality in their community and participate in various litter clean ups and restoration work.
The main focus for the Castro Valley interns this year was developing their Something in the Air (SITA) project and creating a Climate Risk Assessment for their school and district. The SITA project focuses on air pollution, waste, and transportation’s impact on human health in the Bay Area. Interns developed research questions and followed the scientific method to effectively communicate their results to fellow Earth Team interns. Additionally, by editing/creating a Climate Risk Assessment for their school and district, the interns aim to support local capacity to respond to climate change impacts, increase participation in environmental decision making and sustainability, and reduce risks and vulnerabilities.
The interns also got a chance to grow and learn professional skills. They participated in a resume workshop and completed mock interviews to practice for future career opportunities. They also heard from several guest speakers employed in STEM fields about the ins and outs of professional life in a STEM career. All along the way, the team shared plenty of laughs and made memories.
Earth Team staff recruited and hired 12 Castro Valley High School students who met a total of 47 times this school year. Three meetings focused specifically on litter assessments, two on air quality assessments and another two on transportation/GHG surveys. The remaining meetings were spent learning about the environment, preparing for community outreach projects and building their professional skills.
The interns contributed substantially to the above achievements. Castro Valley interns removed 3,052 pieces of litter from local open spaces, removed ~2 yards of invasive plants, and conducted 2 air quality tests. They worked at various places in the East Bay including the Castro Valley Library, Hayward Shoreline Regional Park and around their neighborhoods.
This year, Castro Valley Earth Team reached over 40 community members through their outdoor events and project presentation. They designed a presentation to communicate their SITA and Climate Risk Assessment Research. Additionally, they created a social media account and pledge to spread more awareness.
Earth Team thanks Castro Valley High School for the support this year. Our program would not be possible without partnerships like this one. We also thank the numerous organizations that partner with us for restoration activities and community outreach projects. Finally, we thank our funders: Alameda County Resource Conservation District, CalEPA, and Altamont Education Advisory Board. One last HUGE thank you to the participating interns this year with the Castro Valley team, it wouldn’t have been the same without you!