September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1


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 Is Now Accepting Nominations for Board Members

Posted: Friday, November 17th, 2017

Current, incoming, and outgoing CSTA Board of Directors at June 3, 2017 meeting.

Updated 7:25 pm, Nov. 17, 2017

It’s that time of year when CSTA is looking for dedicated and qualified persons to fill the upcoming vacancies on its Board of Directors. This opportunity allows you to help shape the policy and determine the path that the Board will take in the new year. There are time and energy commitments, but that is far outweighed by the personal satisfaction of knowing that you are an integral part of an outstanding professional educational organization, dedicated to the support and guidance of California’s science teachers. You will also have the opportunity to help CSTA review and support legislation that benefits good science teaching and teachers.

Right now is an exciting time to be involved at the state level in the California Science Teachers Association. The CSTA Board of Directors is currently involved in implementing the Next Generations Science Standards and its strategic plan. If you are interested in serving on the CSTA Board of Directors, now is the time to submit your name for consideration. 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher. The Science Finalists will be recognized at the CSTA Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 14, 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.

Thriving in a Time of Change

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

– Elementary school principal

Anyone concerned with the teaching of science in elementary school is keenly aware of the problem of time. Kids need to learn to read, and learning to read takes time, nobody disputes that. So Common Core ELA can seem like the enemy of science. This was a big concern to me as I started looking at the curriculum that my district had adopted for Common Core ELA. I’ve been through those years where teachers are learning a new curriculum, and know first-hand how a new curriculum can become the focus of attention- sucking all the air out of the room. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

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

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.