May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7


Posted: Saturday, October 30th, 2010

by Paul Ferreira

The first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, heralded the beginning of the popular environmental movement.  Today, forty years later, it has become the premier event focusing attention on environmental and environmental education issues all over the world.  But back then, it passed me right by as I concentrated my energy on graduating college as a biology major that spring.

How could this happen, you think?  Well, there was a lot on my mind at that time.  We were still involved in the Vietnam War, I was engaged to be married, I was wondering what I was going to do for a job and where was I going to live.  So I hope I can be excused for being oblivious to this infant movement that was slowly bringing attention to the needs of the environment.  It wasn’t even on my radar.

My first job with a local park and recreation district eventually led to a 40-plus-year career in parks, recreation, interpretation, and environmental education, but it wasn’t until a job change in 1972 that I attended my first Earth Day event.  I was now an aspiring interpreter/environmental educator, but I was working in isolation, devoid of stimulation and oblivious to the larger picture of where the environmental movement was headed, who was involved, and the potential for activism in its many forms.  The BAEER Fair changed all that for me.

I attended my first Bay Area Environmental Education Resources Fair (BAAER Fair) in 1979.  The following year I was invited to join the BAEER Fair planning committee.  In the ensuing thirty years, my awareness of environmental issues, how I could become involved in helping to address them, and who was out there doing the work of education, conservation, and activism, all came about to a great degree because of the BAEER Fair.

The BAEER Fair opened doors for me and provided opportunities to meet others involved in the profession and learn about other organizations doing environmental and outdoor education.  And the BAEER Fair can do this for you too.  As a supervising naturalist with the East Bay Regional Park District, I was able to support, participate in, and benefit from the BAEER Fair in a number of valuable ways.  Working on the planning committee, I was able to help guide the direction of the fair.  This also provided me with opportunities to promote the fair among my co-workers and professional colleagues.

At the same time, I was also the lead staff member responsible for the park district’s information table at the fair.  The park district saw the BAEER Fair as a valuable marketing and outreach tool where we could reach many hundreds of teachers and educators throughout the nine Bay Area counties each year that may be new to environmental education and unaware of the services and programs our agency had to offer.  This of course is the underlying value of the Fair as a whole—an invaluable resource for classroom teachers needing resources, activities, and curriculum to help them teach about the environment.

The BAEER Fair also allowed our agency to advertise for job vacancies through its job board, where, along with many other organizations and agencies, we could post job descriptions for current and future job opportunities.

Additionally I found the BAEER Fair instrumental in helping me to establish and maintain my contacts in the environmental education field.  The annual Fair made it possible for me to reconnect with long-time friends and make new friends working in the profession.

I also saw the BAEER Fair as a means to train staff.  With the 12 to 16 breakout sessions offered each year, there are ample opportunities to learn about the latest curriculum and resources available.

The BAEER Fair offers us a bridge between the teaching community and educational resources throughout the region.  It’s a great place to get connected!

BAEER Fair #34 will be held on January 22, 2011.  The event takes place at The Marin Center in San Rafael.  Full details are available on their website

Paul Ferreira is supervising naturalist (retired) with the East Bay Regional Park District.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

2 Responses

  1. Great article!
    I worked with Paul at the EBRPD for over 20 years and would love to get in contact with him.
    If there is a way that you can forward my information to him, I would greatly appreciate that.
    (I assume you can see the email address above.)
    Thank you, Tony Smith

  2. Dear Tony,

    I will forward him your email. Thank you for reading!

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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or

New Information Now Available On-line:

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy:

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.