My First 30 Days as an Environmental Educator

Today’s post comes from the newest member of the ILACSD team, Erika Bjorkquist our Education Coordinator!

30 days, 14 presentations, 3 community events.

Two months ago, I would never have guessed that I would be sitting at a desk surrounded by recycling posters, maps of San Diego Watersheds, and aerial photographs of human sand designs. Two months ago, I was visiting my grandmother in Oregon, on a road trip from New Jersey to San Diego. I checked my email and Facebook, found nothing of importance, then progressed to what I had been putting off: the burden of finding a job. I was about to give in to the temptation of tomorrow when I found it, I Love A Clean San Diego in bold: Education Coordinator, full time, application due Friday. Tomorrow became sparkling and bright.

Fast forward. I have now been the Education Coordinator at I Love A Clean San Diego for 30 days (I just received my business cards, so I’m official!). In that time I have come in contact with thousands of people, old and young, at cleanups, community events, and education presentations. ILACSD is true to their mission when they include words like “example” and “actively conserve.”  My favorite part of the job is interacting with students during our classroom and assembly education programs. In the past, I had participated regularly in ILACSD cleanups, but had no idea that they had an education component, so I have had a lot to learn!

You might be like me and know a lot about ILACSD’s cleanups but aren’t as familiar with our education programs. ILACSD has 17 different education programs catering to students from kindergarten to 12th grade. We are fortunate enough to partner with agencies and organizations throughout San Diego, so most of our programs are free!

Students love to learn with our EnviroScape watershed model!

Last year, we presented over 500 programs to a total of 30,835 students. PHEW! Obviously, one person can’t do all of that work, so we have an EDventurous Education Department made up of 5 people: our Director, Samantha, Environmental Educator, Monica, part-time Educators, Erin and Kate, and me! Each day, we go out to schools all over San Diego County to teach students about the environment. (You can learn more about the whole ILACSD team here)

Our programs typically span an hour and, depending on the program, content ranges from conservation to watersheds. If you are teaching about recycling, we gotcha. Pollution? No problem! Landfills? Don’t fill up your schedule. I could go on, but basically, our programs cover a range of subjects that are current and relevant to rural and urban San Diego.  In the past month, I have been in all corners of the County, from Boulevard, San Ysidro, Julian, to Oceanside; the environments and demographics change considerably, but I am always greeted by the same enthusiasm because everyone loves a clean San Diego.

If you are interested  in or have questions about our programs, don’t hesitate to call me at 619.704.2777 or email at ebjorkquist@cleansd.org. I look forward to hearing from you!

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