Interns wrap up the year!

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On Tuesday, June 6th interns joined together for the last day of the year at a location that meant a lot to our group. Interns sat around some warm pizza (and some vegan goodness) as they gazed upon their lawn transformation site at the Hayward City Hall, one of their biggest service learning projects of the year.

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This was the first time visiting the site after the 80+ volunteer day. The blisters and sore backs have recovered.. and seeing how our beautiful garden grew gave us all the satisfaction we needed to wrap up the year.

Interns participated in a short reflection, recalling all the many moments that made up our year together. From Oyster Bay to Downtown San Francisco, Camping at Slide Ranch to Landfill visits, its safe to say everyone had a unique moment that they will hold onto.

After our bellies were full, it was time for certificates and stipends! Since our SLZ Team has so many returners (most of them graduating) Jenna decided to put a twist on the handing out process. Instead of her giving them all out, interns certified and congratulated one another, each saying what they liked about their fellow intern as they handed of their certificate!

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It was a bittersweet feeling to roll up, in the big white van, to San Lorenzo High for the final time of the year. So much so that most interns decided to just hang out in the van and refuse to accept that the year was over!

We have grown together so much as a team, all interns becoming environmental leaders in their own unique ways. Together we have accomplished a lot including; City Sustainability Interactive Board Game, Over 300+ Plantings, 5,000 sq. ft. Lawn Transformation, and 900+ Trees Inventoried for the Alameda Public Works Agency.

We are so proud of our interns for what all their hard work. Can’t wait to see what our Seniors accomplish, and hope to see some familiar faces back for next year!

Great job to the 13 San Lorenzo High 2016-2017 Earth Team Interns!


Interns conduct Tree Inventory for the Alameda Public Works Agency!



For the past few weeks we have been working with Alameda County Public Works Agency to conduct Tree Inventory of San Lorenzo. Often times people will cut down trees on their own lawns not knowing they can be fined for it. By conducting the tree inventory we are able to give the county a better idea of and keep track of the tree species that inhabit the city of San Lorenzo while also informing residents of the regulations and classifications of their trees.

To prepare for our tree inventory we created tree identification binders and made ourselves familiar with the tree inventory app, Open Tree Map, created by Alameda County Public Works Agency. Each one of us was given a tree commonly found in San Lorenzo to do research on, draw the leaf then categorize it under the different tree. While we were out in the field we used the tree identification binder to classify each tree and enter it into the app to keep track of it. Each person was given a task; tree measurer, tree identifier/safety, and app operator. Once we identified the tree and count the diameter in inches the app operator entered it into the description and took a picture of the tree, as well as logged its location.


The way that we did our work is by creating groups of three with their members having their own roles, which were mentioned above. After the groups are formed, these groups get to pick the routes for each zones in order to avoid collision of groups and ensure all trees in the right of way (8-10 ft off the curb) are recorded.

Going through the zones and collecting data’s of trees are grueling, but it is fun nonetheless. I get to see how some people in my group react to the environment and events happening around us, like the time when we encountered kids in the neighborhood who took interest with what we did. I had fun supervising my group because of their constant squabbles, which is funny to say the least. Another thing that I enjoyed a lot is my interactions with people in the neighborhood. Some are really nice, which gave me more energy to go do my work efficiently. Other than that, it is all a good experience for me.

 Written By: Glenn & Naliyah, SLZ Interns

Thanks for reading! 


LEAF 2017 at Slide Ranch!

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On May 5-May 7th interns from all 9 programs were invited to participate in the 17th Annual LEAF (Leadership and Environmental Action Forum). This event is in celebration of interns leadership, stewardship and service throughout the year. Interns camped out for 3 days and 2 nights and got to participate in loads of activities with Slide Ranch staff including; goat milking, tide exploration, beach clean ups, garden tending, cheese making, and more!

We had a great time taking our youth out to the beautiful outdoors to continue to foster a deeper connection to our coasts. Here is what one of our SLZ participants had to say about the trip!

“My favorite part of the trip was having a whole day to do different activities like milking goats and making cheese. Because San Lorenzo is a food desert it was quite inspiring to be able to take matters in my own hands and make food in which I know exactly what is going in it. Going to this farm was very inspiring and made me want to someday own a farm or at least going Near-o/Zero Waste. I’ll take away new experiences, like building a tent. I’ve always had them made!” – Jessica, SLZ Intern 

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Thanks for reading! 


Interns transform 5,000 sq. ft of thirsty lawn into a lively, water-saving garden!


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*Student Blog*

At Hayward City Hall we engaged 85+ community members in a lawn transformation to teach people methods of conserving water through a garden installation with over 200 water wise, Bay-Friendly plants. Throughout the day we transformed an entire 5,000 sq ft of lawn which will save up to 25,000 gallons of water a year.

We believe lawn transformation demonstrations are an effective way to spread water conservation strategies because it shows people the skills they need to continue this process in their own backyard.

Some challenges we faced were presenting demo’s that we ourselves had never done, and staying focused throughout the whole 6hrs of the transformation. The lawn transformation was an amazing opportunity for the interns to hone our public speaking, tree planting, and teamwork skills.

Our team did well at research and knowing the information before we went to the event. We also had strong dedication/willpower. The dirt was a huge challenge and thanks to pickaxes and teamwork we got through it. It was hard to settle on a specific technique at first but through trial and error we figured out what worked best. Because the dirt was so hard we got tired and the event ended a lot later than we expected, but we still worked as hard as we could.

Our favorite parts of the day included managing people, talking to people, using pickaxes, and playing games with other members of our community. Socializing with strangers was a great break in between the hard work we did. It felt refreshing to talk to people we didn’t see often or at all. It was comforting to think about their perspective and how nervous it was for them to come to our event, socializing helped us get rid of the tension.

Our biggest takeaway was knowing how much water we will be saving and seeing the direct impact we made when we see side by side photos of before and after the transformation. It was surprising to see a councilman also work with us hands on in the dirt too. But the best part was knowing we did it all on our own. We did the research, graphics, Facebook page, brochures, and lead all the demonstrations.

Ain’t no power like the power of the youth because the power of the youth ain’t stop.

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Thanks for reading! If you are interested in learning more about how to transform your lawn please contact Jenna at


Interns learn why transforming your lawn is a GREAT water saving strategy!

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On March 21st, our meeting was all about drought and how transforming a lawn is a great water conservation strategy.

During the meeting, we first talked about how significant drought can be to people, the environment, and the economy locally and globally through group discussions, which were divided evenly to explore the damages that the drought can do. We also talked about how people contribute to the drought by taking the water for granted and using it excessively.

We used an interactive web tool to find how much our household year average water consumption was. The numbers were large which was surprising to me since the members of the Earth Team do their best to conserve water in their households. After the discussion on the water consumption of an average American household, we touched upon ways on how we can limit it, which the members answered eagerly. Some of the examples are using cold bath water to water the plants, taking shorter baths, transforming your lawn, and many more.

While we were discussing how to limit water consumption, Jenna shed more light on what lawn transformations are and how it can effectively decrease water consumption. She talked about how much water is used statistically in an average American family, and how transforming your lawn can drastically decrease water consumption. After the presentation, we reflected about the information that we have learned.

My favorite part of the day was doing the warm ups, because it is fun and refreshing after a long day of hard work in our school. I am mentally engaged and eager to learn more about water conservation issues because this environmental issue can’t be looked over as a small one. Someday in the future, this issue will bite harder than the last drought we have experienced recently. I am looking forward to gaining more knowledge about the environment around us and share it with people through small talks.

My biggest take away from the meeting is “to get something is to give back something in return.” If we take away too much, then the Earth can’t sustain life anymore and future generations will have to deal with this. This is the only blue planet that life can support so far, that’s why we can’t mess it up and destroy it for our own means. We, the people, need to give back to the Earth for many reasons just like the last two sentences above this, and we are the only ones that can do this. Step up and let our voices be heard! Make a difference in the world! The change starts with you!

Written By: Glenn, SLZ Intern 

During the meeting on March 21, 2017 the San Lorenzo High School’s Earth Team concentrated on the problems of a drought. The purpose to this discussion was to educate us on what we can do to help prevent and decrease drought harm.

Our team has an upcoming lawn transformation project which is relevant to drought because a lawn transformation can help conserve water by decreasing the amount of water needed for the lawn. One of the main activities accomplished in this meeting was the water usage web player. This individual activity helped uss identify the amount of water we use annually in our homes. Causing us to engage to aim for less usage of water in our households.

We also participated in an activity that involved getting into groups and collaborating our ideas on the effects that drought has socially, environmentally and economically on our daily life. My favorite part of the day ultimately was discussing with my group the effects of a drought because I never knew a drought caused a majority of problems that humans face on a daily basis. This meeting convinced me that changing a small habit of excessively overusing water can lead to a huge change in the environment.

Overall, I enjoyed every single part of the meeting, as always because I learn something new every time. Something I am definitely taking from this meeting is to spread the word about helpful ways to better the environment and to be more aware of the water usage around me.

Written By: Kristine, SLZ Intern

Thanks for reading! If you are interested in learning more about our upcoming project (Saturday, April 15th) email Jenna at


Interns MARCH through the streets of Oakland!

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On March 18th, EarthTeam, Friends of Sausal Creek and other local community members came together and for a Litter March. Friends of Sausal Creek is a volunteer-based, nonprofit, community organization committed to advocating awareness, appreciation and stewardship of Oakland’s Sausal Creek Watershed. They work to restore, maintain and protect the Sausal Creek Watershed, which drains to the San Francisco Bay. This Litter March was a good way of engaging the community because we were able to catch people’s attention and bring awareness to them by just occupying their sidewalks and picking up litter.

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We first started off by meeting up at Josie de la Cruz park and from then was given an introduction from Oakland High’s EarthTeam interns about the importance of educating ourselves and others around us about the effects of litter and preventing litter. We were there to remind and empower locals to stop littering by marching down the sidewalks with bright neon vests, signs with anti-litter slogans, trash pickers and trash bags picking up trash as we made our way towards Cesar Chavez Park.

My favorite part of the day was arriving to Cesar Chavez Park and seeing the before and after of us picking up all the trash. There was such a huge improvement after we left and it made me very pleased to leave a park cleaner than it was before so that children, that were there at the time, could be able to play at a clean and safe area.

Besides that, as I marched down the sidewalk holding my sign and participating in EarthTeam chants, it made me very happy being outside and advocating for an environmental issue that many, including myself, tend to ignore on our day to day basis. It felt good being surrounded around and interacting with people who were working towards the same goal of uplifting our community and reducing litter bit by bit. Honestly, the challenging part was not being able to pick every single piece of litter up that we saw. There were areas where a group of us would spend an extended amount of time trying to pick up every single piece but were nudged to move on to be able to catch up with our big group.

Although we were not able to pick up every piece of litter, we were still able to make a collaborative impact on our community. The biggest thing I took away from this event was not only to encourage others to stop littering but to also focus on educating children and people our age because we are the future. Seeing kids peek their heads out their windows and stand out on their porches curious about what the substantial group of people in bright vests were doing in their neighborhood warmed my heart because although it may be small, we were able to connect with them and hopefully somehow inspire them to get involved with environmental issues in their community.

Written By: Bella, SLZ Intern 

Thanks for reading! 



Interns develop their own Tree ID!


This past week, San Lorenzo interns welcomed the amazing Prof. Joe McBride into the classroom as they continued there training and preparation for upcoming Tree Inventory with the Alameda Public Works Agency. Prof. McBride has been teaching Forestry classes for over 40 years at UC Berkeley and just recently retired, but that doesn’t stop him from sharing his excellence and experience with our youth!

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Prof. McBride had an awesome lesson plan lined up all towards interns getting a hands-on experience creating a taxonomic tree ID for the most common trees found in San Lorenzo (where we will be conducting inventory). First, interns learned about the importance of naming trees, including the different variables that go into naming of trees like characteristics, origins and so on.

Than, Prof. McBride handed it off to the students, where they worked in small teams (Conifer Team & Hardwood Team) to organize the differences of each leave and tree sample into their very own dichotomous key. Interns were asked to draw out the different types of leaves so that anyone could be able to figure out the key. Drawing also helps with remembering and looking at the details.


 Lastly, interns presented their key to the class, explaining their decision making process and how they arrived at their conclusion. Samples of leaves were handed out so all interns could get a first hand look on the differences that created these two keys.


To end the fun filled day, interns took a visit outside where they were able to test our their guides to identify some trees on campus. We cant’t wait to take them out in the field when we start up our Tree Inventory in April!

Thank you Prof. McBride for joining us and sharing your wisdom!


Interns put the FERN in Fern Ravine!

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On February 7th we took an excursion to Fern Ravine in the Oakland Hills to do some planting and beautification with Friends of Sausal Creek. Friends of Sausal Creek is an organization with the intention to restore, maintain and protect Sausal Creek. They focus on educating the community on the importance of our environment and working with other organizations to create a positive impact on the ecosystem and influence further generations to continue the work.

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As we drove down the rode and rose in elevation our visibility slowly decreased as the fog accumulated. When we arrived to fern ravine we were greeted by FOSC Outreach and Education Coordinator, Jill along with the various ferns we were prepared to plant, and some tools and gloves. The weather was ideal that day, as the cool mist ensued a tranquility and allowed me to truly be present in the moment and enjoy all the nature I was surrounded by, along with my fellow interns. We trekked our way down to the creek along the muddy path, and  Jill told us about the wetlands there and what types of species grow. When we arrived to our plot of open space we received a few instructions then began planting.

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Honestly, the most challenging part of the day for me was that we couldn’t stay and plant more. The day altogether was amazing, learning about the wetlands with all its different species, and the mini hike,  although my favorite part of the day was being able to plant. Just realizing that this simple task is a small contribution to the large task of stewardship and sustaining a diverse ecosystem is incredibly powerful to me. And although all I really did was plant a few  lady fern’s I’ve realized that collectively our collaboration with Friends of Sausal Creek and the knowledge we acquired is incredibly impactful as a we continue our lives with this awareness and action of sustainability.

Written By: Naliyah, SLZ Intern 



Interns get a visit from ACPWA Arborists!

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On Feb, 14th interns kicked off their tree inventory service learning project with an extremely informative and exciting visit by Inta Brainerd and Jim Browne, County Arborists/Environmental Compliance Specialists for the Alameda County Public Works Agency.

To kick things off Jim first shared about how he was actually them man that awarded the grant to plant the trees that now make up San Lorenzo’s beautiful Native Plant Garden. It was awesome for students hear about the history of their schools urban forestry, a perfect segue into the history of Urban Forestry in San Lorenzo and the importance of Tree Inventory.

Interns learned all about the different ordinances that restrict tree removal, as well as the punishment for doing so. In addition, they learned about their role as “Tree Ambassadors” for the Alameda County Public Works Agency and what significance it has helping out the agency and the local community.

Here is a bit what interns are looking forward to! 

“I am excited to get into community outreach projects that have the potential to make a positive impact on my neighborhood. I want to see less violations! I am also looking forward to being able to say that I worked for a government agency.” –Courtney, SLZ Intern

“I am probably most excited working with everyone and working at a county-wide level” –Allen, Skyline Intern

“I am most looking forward to being able to recognize tree species and be able to spread awareness to people around me about the tree right of way” -Bella, SLZ Intern

“Something I want to take out of Tree Inventory is to spread awareness in the community. I also find it amazing that I can be involved with the county agency.” -Kristine, SLZ Intern

“I am looking forward to working with the ACPWA. I am looking forward to helping them with their cause and get experience that I can use. I also look forward to crunching numbers, statistics, and the tree knowledge I can use in the future to show my future kids about this.” -Glenn, SLZ Intern

 Thanks for reading! Check out next week as we start training for work in the field!