Earthroots Field SchoolBack To All Nominees
Environment: Spring, 2011
Earthroots Field School runs environmental education programs in Orange County, CA.
Full Assesment Summary
- Established in 2005, Earthroots Field School provides environmental education programs and services throughout Orange County. EFS works at over 20 sites, partnering with local organic farms, wilderness parks, schools and private land owners to bring people into deep connection with nature through real-life experiences, hands-on classes, field trips and camps. EFS works with schools to bring nature-based education to the classroom, supporting teachers, parents, and administrations in finding the best ways to partner with specialists in rainwater harvesting, permaculture, and nature awareness. EFS’s programs are designed for people of all ages and focus on wilderness awareness, sustainable living skills, ecological gardening, natural crafts and whole food cooking.
- Mission | Theory Of Change
- Earthroots’ motto is, “In order to protect something, you first need to care for it. And to care for something, you first need to know it.” EFS educates and empowers children and families to foster healthy relationships with the earth, themselves, and each other to create a better world for all. EFS’s programs create opportunities for people learn about local food systems, lifestyle impacts on natural ecosystems, why nature is important, and how individuals can live with a positive impact on the earth and others.
- History | Track Record
- Earthroots began in 2005 with informal children’s gardening classes at a local community garden. Recognizing the importance of nature-based education in the lives of their children, local parents worked with EFS’ eventual and current Executive Director, Jodi Levine, to expand the gardening classes into a more comprehensive environmental education program that included wilderness awareness hikes, cooking classes, and natural building workshops. By the end of 2005, EFS was hosting two classes each week, and in 2008 EFS became a 501c3 with three part-time instructors. Today EFS teaches classes five days a week with three office staff and five instructors, serving families from Los Angeles, San Diego, and Riverside Counties. Their core programs include hands-on rainwater harvesting and lifecycles science curricula (pollination, composting, beekeeping, etc.) at local elementary schools, as well as a food systems program that partners children with local farms and food banks to grow, harvest and provide food for those in need.
- Grant Usage
- A grant from OPF would be used to complete a rainwater harvesting pilot program at a local elementary school. Grant funding would be used to purchase and install cisterns and other rainwater harvesting equipment to water onsite gardens that students would tend to and care for. An OPF grant would also be used to pay for staff-time associated with the program.
- Financial, Staffing, & Project Summary
- Earthroots Field School’s total revenues in 2009 were $89,198 and total expenses were $82,324. $67,563 of EFS’s expenses went towards their single full-time and seven part-time staff. Earthroots is supported entirely by class fees, donations, and sponsorships. Rather than spending excessively on materials, EFS invests in hiring quality mentors, trainings for its staff, and program necessities including insurance, accounting, and site fees (EFS does not currently own any property, and many classes and programs are taught on private or public properties that require a rental fee). The rainwater harvesting program’s total 2009 budget was $35,000, including staff time. Earthroots’ highest paid employee in 2009 was their Executive Director at $28,000.
- Working Group Analysis
- Earthroots Field School works with local families, schools, farms, and nonprofits to provide critical, hands-on environmental education services in a time and location where they are very nearly absent. EFS’s community-supported efforts foster relationships across generations and cultures, providing children and adults alike the knowledge and skills they need to live more sustainably. On a shoestring budget, EFS has managed to provide high-quality, innovative environmental education services to thousands of families. Their efforts foster healthy connections to ecosystems and inspire individuals to create lasting positive change in their local and global communities.
- Nominator Endorsement
- Aimee Gromfin: "I nominated Earthroots Field School because I believe that gaining an education, appreciation, and commitment to the environment should start as early as possible. Using a very hands-on and in-depth educational approach, Earthroots is dedicated to educating everyone, from toddlers to adults, about our natural world and what we can do to protect and nourish the environment. From classes for toddlers, weekly field classes for young children, summer camps for teenagers, and camp-outs for the entire family, Earthroots works to incorporate a love of nature and a positive connection to our environment within people of all ages. It would be wonderful to see Earthroots benefit from an OPF grant to help them continue to grow and develop as an environmental educational resource within their Southern California community."