HSU, Sac State Garner $3M Environmental Grant

The National Science Foundation has awarded $2 million to Sacramento State and $1 million to Humboldt State for their partnership in the California Environmental Legacy Project.

The project, which began several years ago, is a statewide initiative among scientists, educators and media professionals to enhance public understanding of California’s rapidly changing environment. The collaboration includes California State Parks, the National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and the California Public Television Consortium, as well as higher education and science museum partners. NSF funding supports three major components of the Legacy Project:

  • A two-hour television documentary, “Reinventing California,” will journey across 2 billion years of California’s history and explore the fundamental nature of our relationship to a changing environment. The target date for its PBS presentation throughout California is fall 2012.
  • The Changing Places Initiative will use “place-based” programs to reach park, museum, science center, and school audiences at regional sites, including Lassen Volcano, Redwood Forest, Point Reyes, Los Angeles Basin/Baldwin Hills, and Anza Borrego Desert. Each will feature short films, video podcasts and print media.
  • An Online Educational Portal will create new digital learning systems, giving users access to multimedia content, searchable databases, lesson plans, interactive maps and online learning communities.

“I applaud the faculty members involved in this project for their outstanding dedication to science education and environmental awareness. Their work is helping to keep the California State University at the forefront of the most important issues facing California,” says Sacramento State President Alexander Gonzalez.

Humboldt State President Rollin C. Richmond says: “For me, what’s most exciting about this project is that it provides a new way for scientists to share their knowledge. Californians care quite deeply about our natural environment. They want to understand it better and protect it, and this will help.”

Project Director Jim Baxter, a Sacramento State biology professor, says the three-year grant will create a novel integration of the three instructional components by combining new digital media with a place-based approach to learning. Sacramento State is the lead institution in the grant work. Humboldt State will develop the place-based programs.

“By creating high-quality educational programs and media resources that connect learning about environmental change to local places, the project will explore the fundamental nature of our relationship to a changing environment – where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going,” Baxter says.

Jeffrey White, project co-director and Humboldt State biology professor, adds: “The National Science Foundation is a primary supporter of the California Environmental Legacy Project, and this funding will allow us to carry out our goal of deepening public understanding of environmental change and our place in the environment.”

Kit Tyler, a Sacramento-based filmmaker and president of American Mercury, Inc., will produce and direct the public television program. David Scheerer, professor of film at Humboldt State, will produce the media for the Changing Places Initiative. Remote-Learner.net is the digital learning systems partner for the project.

More information is available on the Legacy Project website: http://www.calegacy.org/

For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156 or Humboldt State’s News and Information office at 707-826-5105.