FALL2016Volume 15Issue 2MEECApple Valley Educator Takes Home MEEC’s “Teacher of the Year” AwardHigh Desert Students Also RecognizedOn May 5, 2016, more than 100 educators, students and business leadersconvened for the annual Mojave Environmental Education Consortium’sTeacher and Student of the Year Awards and Recognition Banquet, whichtook place at Spring Valley Lake Country Club in Victorville.MEEC recognized Valerie Kimmel-Oliva from Desert Knolls Elementary School inApple Valley as MEEC’s 2016 Teacher of the Year. MEEC also recognized PamelaChaires of Granite Hills High School, Apple Valley, and John Kell of Daisy GibsonSchool, Palmdale, as this year’s runner–up Teachers of Excellence. In recognitionof their dedication and hard work in fostering environmental awareness in theclassroom, the teachers each received a cash prize, plaque and goodie bagsbursting with office supplies donated by MEEC sponsor 3M, Oak Hills. Winnerswere nominated by their principals, colleagues orcommunity members and selected by MEEC’sExecutive Board.Teachers of Honor: L-R: Teacher of ExcellenceJohn Kell, Daisy Gibson School, Palmdale; Teacher ofthe Year, Valeria Kimmel-Oliva, Desert KnollsElementary, Apple Valley and Teacher of ExcellencePamela Chaires, Granite Hills High School, Apple Valley.Ten High Desert students were also recognized as MEEC Students of the Yearduring the event in recognition of their commitment to promoting environmentalawareness and positive change within their schools and communities. Thestudents were nominated by their teachers or principals for their efforts inenvironmental leadership and stewardship. Each student received a trophy, a 60check and a 60 Staples gift card.2016 Students of the Year: FrontRow (L-R): Anthony Trujillo, DesertKnolls Elementary, Apple Valley; NkechiOnyi, George Visual and Performing ArtsMagnet School, Adelanto; NikolausMartinez, Baker Elementary, Baker; JuliaMartinez, Yucca Valley High School,Yucca Valley; Lauryn Kell, Daisy GibsonSchool, Palmdale; Jessica Lopez,Brentwood Elementary, Victorville. Back Row (L-R): Aurby Hirschhorn, Lucerne ValleyElementary, Lucerne Valley; Charlie Colbert, Vanguard Preparatory, Apple Valley; Kayla Allen,Granite Hills High School, Apple Valley. Not Pictured: Skye Hansen, La Contenta MiddleSchool, Yucca Valley.Five recipients of MEEC’s 2016 High School Environmental/Science ScholarshipProgram were also recognized during the banquet. Each recipient will receive a 2,000 scholarship towards their educational goals of pursuing a career inenvironmental science, engineering or closely related field.Scholarly Winners (L-R): Emilia Cloutman,Sultana High School, Hesperia; Sergio Silesky,Oak Hills High School, Oak Hills; Megan Ngo,Apple Valley High School, Apple Valley; NadineCrosby, University Preparatory, Victorville. NotPictured: Yvette Rosales, Quartz Hill HighSchool, Lancaster.Educators Discover Lake Arrowhead’s ForestEcology Secrets During 2-Day WorkshopOn April 30 and May 1, eight teachers explored the forest of LakeArrowhead during the 2016 Boeing-sponsored “Forest Ecology”teacher workshop. Participants received scholarships that coveredtheir meals and lodging for the two-day excursion to various locations aroundLake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino National Forest.MEEC was excited to work with CalFire Forester Henry Herrera, CalFire CaptianDebbie Chapman and U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Dave Kelly, who sharedtheir expertise with the group as they worked in the field and learned about foresthealth, best-practices for managing forested lands and the role that fire plays in theurban-forest setting.Left: Calfire Forester Henry Herrera, center,demonstrates to teachers different ways that theycan identify bark beetle infestations in pine trees.Below: Teachers listen as the captain of the“Arrowhead Queen” recounts the dead treeremoval efforts which were undertaken after the2003 wildfire around Lake Arrowhead.The workshop continued the second day in the classroom, where teachers wereinstructed in the facilitation of Project Learning Tree’s “Focus on Forest” and “Forestof the World” modules. To conclude the workshop, teachers were treated to a privateboat tour of Lake Arrowhead which highlighted the removal efforts during the 2003bark beetle outbreak and current management strategies in practice around the lake.The Mojave Environmental Education ConsortiumInvites you to check us out & “Like” us on Facebook!Like

Page 2MEECSTUDENTS CELEBRATE SERVICE LEARNING DURING SPRING SHOWCASEhosted in follow up to the 2015 YELC, alsoallowed teams the opportunity to network andproblem solve with each other.Attending this year’s event to encourage andmentor teams was Richard Caulkins fromSanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, along time MEEC Sponsor.YELCMore than 100 students and their advisorsgathered at Granite Hills High School on March5 to take part in the 5th annual YouthEnvironmental Leadership Conference STEM ServiceLearning Showcase. Students shared their experiencesas they implemented environmental and STEM servicelearning projects related to recycling, gardening andwater conservation. The 2016 Showcase, which MEECEnvironmentalLeadershipConferenceVisit

Page 3MEECTeachers Receive EE and STEMDuring the spring of 2016, MEEC offerededucators a variety of STEM-basedenvironmental education workshopsthroughout the High Desert.Training During 2016 Teacher WorkshopsThe Mojave Water Agency presented “HighDesert Water Science in a SNAP” on February18 which highlighted the history of water in theMojave Desert and provided teachers withhands-on activities that they could use to teachstudents about ground water.the necessary steps neededto start and sustain a STEMbased garden at their schoolsites and received a garden kitto take back with them.Women In Mining presented“Toothpaste with a Twist” and“Cookie Mining” activitiesduring their February 25thworkshop. The workshop andits accompanying activitiesshowed educators how toteach their students aboutmining practices. Attendingteachers were thrilled to gohome with classroom and gift cards for supplies, in addition to the standardsbased curriculum provided byWomen In Mining.High Desert Power Projectshared the science behind theproduction of electricity duringthe “Energy- Watts it AllAbout?” workshop on March 3,which included a tour of theVictorville facility.On April 7, Jeff Meberg ofNursery Products presented“From Garbage to Gardens.”The workshop focused on thescience behind compostingwith biosolids and allowedteachers to learn how andwhat to compost for theirschool gardens.CalPortland Companywelcomed teachers to theirOro Grande site and taughtthem the difference betweencement and concrete. During the April 26th workshop, teachers toured the facility,created concrete in a cupand took back to theirclassrooms samples ofthe materials necessaryto make cement.Sponsored by LockheedMartin, “Air Quality andYOU” gave teachers theopportunity to learnabout the science of air.During the workshop,teachers learned from air quality professionals about the properties of air, airpollutants and their sources, how air pollution is monitored, forecasted, andreported, the health effects of air pollution, and how each of us can be part of the“pollution solution.”Funded by the BoeingCompany, “A Garden In EverySchool” workshops broughtschool garden resources tot e a c h e r s i n t h e V i c t o r,Antelope and MorongoVa l l e y s . D u r i n g t h e s eworkshops, teachers learnedStudents Pen Winning EssaysOn March 10, winners of the Mojave EnvironmentalEducation Consortium’s “Reuse It!” Essay Contestalong with their families and friends were invited to anawards ceremony at the High Desert Power Project inVictorville. The local nonprofit and MEEC Sponsor HDPP joinedforces to present the essay contet for students in grades K-12from throughout the High Desert. Winners of the 500-words-orless contest received special certificates, gift cards and a tour ofthe facility led by Environmental Manager Jon Boyer.Boeing/MEEC Essay Contest Winners: Front Row: SaraMills, La Contenta Middle School, Yucca Valley. Back Row (LR): Ashley Melgoza, George Visual and Performing Arts,Adelanto; Miranda Garibay, Ocotillo Elementary, Palmdale;Isacc Lucatero, Desert Knolls Elementary, Apple Valley;Nathaniel Holmes, Oak Hills High School, Oak Hills; JohnPopovich, Boeing’s Palmdale Site Leader and ProgramSupport for Flight-Test Value Stream; Evan Downing,Vanguard Preparatory, Apple Valley; Jefferson Stebbins,Gregg Anderson Academy, Palmdale.Just in time to celebrate Earth Day, the winners of MEEC’s “AtWork for a Better World!” Essay Contest along with theirfamilies and friends were invited to an awards ceremony held atthe Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District offices inLancaster. The nonprofit and MEEC Sponsor Boeing joinedforces to present the essay contest for students in grades K-12from throughout the High Desert. Winners of the 500-words-orless contest received special certificates and gift cards fromMEEC, plus a very special gift bag filled with unique logo itemsfrom the Boeing Company in recognition of their efforts.HDPP/MEEC Essay Contest Winners: Front Row (L-R):Jevilie Rodriguez, Liberty Elementary School, Victorville;Jasmine Sheets, Maple Elementary School, Hesperia; MarleyParkman, Sandia Academy, Apple Valley; Evan Martinez,Sandia Academy, Apple Valley; Levi Kendrick, SandiaAcademy, Apple Valley. Back Row (L-R): Kimberly Chermock,Academy for Academic Excellence, Apple Valley; JamieSantiago, Lake Los Angeles School, Lake Los Angeles; HaleyPflum, Academy of Careers and Exploration, Helendale;Bryson Rivera, Oak Hills High School, Oak Hills.Visit

Page 4MEECTEACHERFEATURE:Meet Pamela ChairesPamela Chaireswas raised inNortheast LosAngeles, where at 17years old she began herhigher education journeyat Glendale CommunityPamela ChairesCollege. Upon earningher associates degree, she transferred to WhitterCollege, a small private liberal arts school, where sheearned her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Psychology.After the completion of her undergraduate work, Pamelacontinued pursuing her education and later received herMasters of Art in Teaching from USC.Ranging from the private to public sectors, Pamela has overa decade of experience in the education field. Currently, sheteaches US and World History, AP Psychology and SCADA(Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) Academy WorldHistory, at Granite Hills High School in Apple Valley. “I havebeen given the humbling opportunity to serve students thebest education and instruction possible,” Pamela said abouther teaching experience at Granite Hills High School whereshe also serves as a SkillsUSA teacher advisor.Pamela recalls that one of the most challenging, yetrewarding experiences she had while working at GHHS waswhen she took an active role in the collaboration of theSupervisory Control And Data Acquisition Academy andSkillsUSA on a service-based project. Pamela and hereager students ambitiously set out make their school achampion for water conservation by re-landscaping thecampus to include desert adaptive pants, trees and othermaterials.Her teams of students worked determinedly onresearching all aspects of the project including design,fundraising and raising awareness among potential stakeholders. Through their dedication, Pamela and herSkillsUSA students have earned over 60,000 towards thetask of re-landscaping the school’s senior quad which wascompleted in June 2016 and are now ready for the upcomingacademic year and saving 1.7 million gallons of water peryear just in that small area. “This project would not havebeen possible without the positivity and professionalism ofour partners who worked along the students to make theirpassionate dreams a reality,” said Pamela. “I hope tocontinue teaching creatively and effectively within myclassroom while also modeling environmental stewardshipand the need for everyone to be humbly active in communityservice in order to develop a better world and sustain ourvital limited environmental resources.”High Desert Teachers Attend Key Issues InstituteKey Issues Institute is a national training institute located in Silverthorne,Colorado which is held each summer. Using Colorado’sbreathtaking ecosystem as its setting, Key Issues allowsteachers to combine classroom time and outdoor exploration of thenatural environment. For the 14th year, this once-in-alifetime opportunity was made available to three AntelopeValley teachers via full scholarships provided by three MEECSponsors: Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County,Antelope Valley AQMD and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.The Boeing Company and MEEC also sponsored twoteachers from the San Bernardino County HighDesert/Riverside County Blythe region to attend the KeyIssues training this summer. Key Issues givesBonnie Bolton andeducators the skills toSamara Guglerexplore current local andglobal environmental issues with their students using a nonbiased, standards-based framework.Felicia Byrne, Kathleen Hackeland Valerie Kimmel-OlivaThe teachers selected by MEEC to attend the training session inJuly were: Bonnie Bolton, Lake Los Angeles School, Palmdale;Felicia Byrne, Little Rock High School, Little Rock; SamaraGugler, Sundown Elementary, Lancaster; Kathleen Hackel,Barstow High School, Barstow; and Valerie Kimmel-Oliva, DesertKnolls Elementary, Apple Valley .HIGH DESERT STUDENTS ATTEND ANNUAL RANGE CAMPThree High Desert students were among an elite group of 25 High School students fromthroughout the state that took part in the California-Pacific Section Society for RangeManagement’s 2016 Range Camp. Located at Elkus Ranch in Half Moon Bay, the workingranch in Northern California provided the perfect arena as students worked daily with industry anduniversity professionals on such topics as: ecology, soil science, forestry and watershed hydrology.“Range Camp was an eye-opening experience. I didn't know there w