By The Bakersfield Californian
I am writing to encourage the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District to continue scheduling their schools at the KEEP campuses.
I first worked as a naturalist for the Kern Environmental Education Program in 1992, in Cambria, when the pilot was implemented at Camp Ocean Pines (the old YMCA camp).
After two years, KEEP started leasing from Huron-Coalinga a Camp Yeager in Cambria and became KEEP Cambria Pines, and has been at this location since.
I moved over to the KEEP Ocean campus (Los Osos/Montana de Oro) in 1995 and worked there until 2004, when I retired to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology. I still substitute at both campuses.
In the 16-plus years I have worked at KEEP I have received numerous letters and cards from students and teachers telling of the wonders that the students experience during their life-affirming week at the residential campuses.
When children see that ecology includes all parts of the home/ecosystem, from the smallest microscopic organism to the most ferocious, and they begin to see and understand their value as a part of the whole, they decide that they have a purpose. They claim it is the best week of their lives.
Their grasp of science, systems and cycles lays the groundwork for higher achievement, post-KEEP, when they return to their classrooms.
Everyone benefits if schools maintain the KEEP experience as part of the curriculum.
CAROLINA A. VAN STONE