2020 Fennie Community Fund
Legal-name: Santa Catalina Island Conservancy
Previous-name: Catalina Island Conservancy
Address: 320 Golden Shore, Suite 220
City: Long Beach
Officer-title: President and CEO
Title: Chief Development Officer
Grant Purpose: A $10,000 grant will support the general operations of our NatureWorks Education Program and Complementary Programs in 2020-2021, including implementation of necessary Coronavirus (COVID-19) related program modifications, allowing us to continue offering vital programming to Avalon and mainland children/youth in a new COVID-19 world and learning environment.
What-is-project: We have been greatly impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Due to county/state Safer/Stay at Home orders, our operations on Catalina and many vital earned income streams have been suspended since March 20th. During this time, we implemented immediate cost-reductions, including furloughing most staff. However, a large budget deficit (up to $2M) and dramatically altered operations are anticipated through 2021.
We are implementing modifications across our conservation/education/recreation programs in response to social distancing/group size guidelines/school closures. Our Education Programs are being restructured to allow us to continue to meet the needs of the disadvantaged populations we serve, including Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) students from Avalon School and mainland ABC USD students, through synchronous/asynchronous virtual learning (e.g. webinars/instructional videos). During this unprecedented time, school districts across the nation have implemented virtual learning, which is anticipated to continue through the summer/fall. Although our district partners have not yet finalized their new operating policies/identified how their day-to-day instructional needs will change in the fall, we are developing environmental education learning resources/experiences that are in-line with a COVID-19 learning environment, best practices and national standards. The core purpose of our Education Programs/goals/populations we serve will remain unchanged. We will continue to work with participating districts, adapting to their educational needs/operating policies as they are formalized. With our long history providing environmental education to Avalon School and beyond, these programs are essential to increasing environmental and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)-related knowledge/proficiencies/literacy; promoting positive environmental citizenship; advancing environmentally-sound decision making; and inspiring appreciation for the natural world.
Given alignment between the Foundation’s commitment to serving youth-focused organizations providing educational services to at-risk populations in Avalon/Long Beach communities and our Education Programs, we respectfully request consideration of a $10,000 grant. Your support would help fund the general operations of our Education Programs in 2020-2021, including implementation of necessary COVID-19 related program modifications (e.g., membership fees for virtual learning platforms, software to develop digital content/relevant staff training).
Connected with LBUSD Common Core Standards, STEM curricula, and Next Generation Science Standards, our K-12 NatureWorks Program emphasizes hands-on investigation/experiences to increase environmental knowledge. Many learners also participate in our critical Complementary Programs. To adapt to a COVID-19 learning environment, many of these programs will transition to virtual learning platforms.
How-will-you-succeed: NatureWorks in the Classroom (K-12)
As Avalon School establishes spring/fall 2020 educational priorities, field trip/guest instructor policies, we’ll develop synchronous/asynchronous virtual learning opportunities (e.g. webinars/instructional videos) to allow for continued provision of environmental education content aligned with best practices/national standards. We’re exploring the following:
Remote, self-paced, mini-courses, followed by live Q&A sessions with Education staff;
K-12 activities that can be completed in 15 minutes or less, without the need for special resources; Read-aloud science story videos, including instructions for at-home activities on related topics.
To provide a K-8 summer learning platform, we’re also developing “Quick Science Experiences,” 10 standards-aligned activities that can be completed with materials commonly found at home.
Field-Based Programs (K-12/Adults)
Social distance/group size guidelines will impact traditional field-based program models (e.g., Course Catalina). We’re exploring virtual alternatives to enable continued achievement of program goals relating to development of appreciation of the natural world. A summer Jr. Naturalist Course is under development for grades 2-8, including stories about Catalina’s ecology/nature-based activities that can be conducted at home/encouraging learners to develop stewardship behaviors to help protect the natural resources in their communities.
Hands-on Engagement (K-12/Adults)
As we focus on mitigating COVID-19 transmission through shared resources, many of our hands-on opportunities (e.g., Interpretation Stations) will transition to virtual opportunities with nature through oral discourse. Nature Journal Kits for grades 2-12, including all supplies will be distributed through the Avalon food bank. An instructional video will be available on our website.
Our Last Friday Lecture Series/Naturalist 1 Training will transition to virtual learning platforms, including asynchronous learning. Our Lecture Series will be offered as a live web broadcast, including monitored Q&A with featured speakers.
Provide multiple, free access points for learners of all ages to experience hands-on science instruction.
Improve student understanding of scientific tools/processes/research methods.
Increase learner awareness of Catalina’s unique natural history.
Provide opportunities to increase career awareness/readiness skills (*select programs).
Inspiring appreciation for the natural world.
Initially, we’ll focus on maintaining reach to target audiences/overall effectiveness. Outcomes:
Implementation of virtual learning opportunities will lead to engagement with our target audiences;
Positive feedback will be received, indicating needs are being met.
As we reconnect with established/new audiences, we’ll begin identifying program metrics. We’ll continue seeking funding to sustain programs beyond grant period.
Who-are-you: Founded in 1972, our mission is to responsibly steward our lands through a balance of conservation/ education/recreation. As one of the oldest/largest land trusts in California, we protect nearly 90% of Catalina Island (42,000 of 48,000 acres), which is home to 60+ plants/animals found nowhere else in the world.
We are governed by a 14-member Board of Directors/four Benefactor Members. President/CEO
Tony Budrovich manages 90+ staff/works closely with our executive team to oversee operations.
We work in partnership with many local/state agencies, organizations, school districts, foundations to fulfill our mission.
Our wildlife/plant conservation programs are implemented to protect Catalina’s sensitive ecosystems. Most wildlife program operations will not be impacted by COVID-19. Social distancing guidelines/proper sanitation protocols will be followed/PPE will be purchased for relevant staff for plant program operations.
We are working to create environmental education learning resources/experiences that are in-line with a COVID-19 learning environment/best practices/national standards, including modifying typical program models to allow for virtual learning.
Our NatureWorks Education Program primarily benefits Avalon School’s (Title 1) sizable population of low-income students. In 2019, 70% of Avalon students were considered socio-economically disadvantaged, qualifying for free/reduced meals. LA County students from ABCUSD also participate in Course Catalina/Course Catalina Field School, including Haskell, Ross and Tetzlaff Middle Schools. Of participating ABCUSD students in 2019, 63% of Ross (Title 1), 41% of Tetzlaff, and 62% of Haskell (Title 1) qualified for free/reduced meals. All participating schools predominantly serve students of color, and sizable numbers of English Learners (EL)/students whose primary language is other than English (Fluent-English Proficient (FEP)). Our Complementary Programs serve learners of all ages, primarily mainland adults/youth.
Program modifications are being designed to allow us to continue to serve these populations. Development of virtual learning opportunities is anticipated to allow us to reach new audiences, regionally/beyond.
In compliance with county/state Safer/Stay at Home orders, Catalina’s trails/beaches/campgrounds/piers were closed from March 20th – May 8th. While Catalina’s trails reopened on May 8th/remote beaches and moorings on May 13th, non-essential travel is discouraged/LA County trail use/safety guidelines must be followed. Modifications are also being implemented across our recreation programs in compliance with social distancing guidelines/sanitation protocols.
We maintain Catalina’s vast infrastructure, acting as a municipality without a tax base. Most of our operations remain suspended, with the exception of the Airport, which is open for landings. Remaining facilities will begin re-opening June 1st, with enhanced cleaning protocols, traffic monitoring and additional signage.