The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Community Watershed Stewards Academy—Module 5

Grant Information
Categories Community , Education , Environment
Location United States
Cycle Year 2019
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Outward Bound Adventures Inc.
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Charles Thomas, jr.
Phone (626) 564-0844
PO Box 202
Additional Information
Used for Community Watershed Stewards Academy (CWSA) is a six-module grassroots, work-learn pilot program—developed in collaboration with Pasadena Water and Power—designed to involve underserved and at-risk local area youth and their families in learning about the importance of watershed health and to provide pathways to careers in natural resource management. Funding from the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation will specifically support Module #5, which trains young participants in trail engineering and maintenance techniques, teaches them about jurisdictional delineations, and pays them to restore the trail system in the Arroyo Seco Watershed. In addition, youth will become paid facilitators of watershed initiatives and lead 25 community volunteers in other hands-on restoration projects in the Watershed.
Benefits OBA’s services are vital to the communities we serve, as the concept of time spent in open spaces and wild places remains outside the daily context of most residents. The youth and families we serve, who have been disconnected from nature in a way that deteriorates their emotional and social health, are provided with excellent reasons to get off their cell phones and go outdoors. Moreover, environmental inequality studies on environmental health, environmental psychology, and environmental education report that the positive effects of nature exposure include improved cognitive functioning, better motor coordination, reduced stress levels, increased social interaction, improved social skills, and overall healthier communities.
Proposal Description OBA is developing the Community Watershed Stewards Academy (CWSA) as a program that will serve Northwest Pasadena’s low-income families by getting them outdoors, introducing them to the Arroyo Seco Watershed, and creating a career pathway in natural resource/watershed management for local underserved and at-risk youth of color.

CWSA has six, two-week modules, each module has two training focus areas and a hands-on watershed restoration project. All trainings will be paid, due to the on-site restoration projects that will accompany each module. OBA will hire CWSA graduates to facilitate volunteer groups that will assist with watershed restoration projects and to lead youth and families from their communities on a series of guided hikes into the area. It is our belief that if we all better understand the importance of this area, and if we all take part in helping to improve it, the Arroyo Seco Watershed area will continue to be a healthy environment and watershed and a spectacular place to recreate for generations to come.
Six youth, ages 15-18, will be selected to participate in the complete training program. The first three modules are fully funded by Pasadena Water and Power (PWP), which collaborated with OBA on developing the program, and Module #4 is supported by a grant from Patagonia.

The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation’s gift of $12,000 will specifically go towards supporting CWSA’s Module #5, and will help cover program staff, biology/watershed specialist consultants, nourishment, hourly wages for youth participants, uniforms, insurance, and transportation. Youth will study Trail Engineering and Trail Maintenance Techniques, and learn about jurisdictional delineations. The Module #5 Restoration Project will focus on improving trails in the Arroyo Seco Watershed. Youth will gain experience in a wide range of restoration skills—including repairing storm and fire damage, performing intricate rockwork, designing an implementing stream, riparian, and hill slope improvements, and removing fugitive trails—that will improve surrounding habitat and develop a sustainable trail system in the Watershed.

Curriculum: OBA will train students in 13 areas, including: Wilderness First Aid; Hydrological Cycle, including aquifers and surface flow; Water quality testing and analysis techniques; Fundamental concepts stream ecology; Fundamentals of fluvial geomorphology; Trail engineering and maintenance techniques; Map, compass and GPS Navigation techniques; Invasive non-native plant eradication techniques; Plants of the Chaparral, Riparian and Coastal Sage Scrub communities; Stream bank stabilization and sediment control; Watershed features, functions and human impact analysis; Understanding jurisdictional delineations; Group management techniques, community building initiatives, and volunteer management.

Goals, Objectives, & Outcomes: With CWSA, OBA has three primary goals with measureable outcomes:
Goal 1 Change the way urban youth view and value watershed ecology.
Objective: Improve watershed literacy, knowledge of watershed and natural resource management, and wilderness first aid and navigation techniques for underserved youth.
Outcomes: 1) Develop and train a cadre of 6 local youth—who live near the Arroyo Seco Watershed—to become leaders in watershed protection and health; 2) Train youth to become facilitators of watershed initiatives and to lead 25 community volunteers in hands-on restoration projects in the Arroyo Seco Watershed, and; 3) 31 youth and volunteer participants will understand how humans impact the watershed ecosystem, improve their data collection and analytical skills through citizen science activities, and learn how to safely operate in wild places and open spaces.

Goal 2 Establish access to career pathways in watershed and natural resource management for underserved urban youth.
Objective: Provide a working relationship between youth in the community and Pasadena Water and Power (PWP), collaborator and funder of Modules 1-3.
Outcomes: 1) PWP will employ six local students to create greater community awareness of their educational program, and; (2) OBA will employ CWSA graduates to lead a series of interpretive hikes into the Watershed.

Goal 3 Develop CWSA as a scalable watershed education, internship, and community outreach program that can be replicable in other watershed sites around the country.
Objective: Create a project-based, hands-on internship program for PWP.
Outcomes: PWP will have a trained cadre of local youth ambassadors who will be capable of safely facilitating restoration projects on the Watershed.

Evaluation Methodology: Each module will contain a 20-item, pre- and post-assessment to measure the increase in watershed knowledge, application skills and abilities. Instructors will also monitor each participant for improvement in technical skills associated with the CWSA trainings and curriculum listed above. An additional assessment will be conducted to determine the progress and development of leadership and team-building skills developed during the work-learning experience.

Instructors monitor each participant for improvements in curriculum skills and soft skills (team-building, communication, goal setting and achieving). We use a short survey to gain an understanding of how our participants feel about each of our programs. This includes three open-ended questions: (1) Name three things you learned on this trip, (2) What was fun about this trip? (3) What would you change about this trip to make it more fun? We also collect qualitative data by obtaining feedback from participants and testimonials from instructors, teachers, and counselors.

Perhaps participants’ endless chatter during trips are most telling: We’ve had plenty of students who have forcefully said that they “cannot do it” when they are facing the grueling physical challenge of hiking at 12,000 feet of elevation, but once they complete the challenge they emphatically ask: “When can I come back?!” This is a testament of not only their resilience, but in the bond instructors create with the youth that allows them to motivate our students to complete the arduous life-changing summit.

Timeline of Activities, Trainings, and Watershed Restoration Work Dates:
Recruitment & Parent Orientation — May 6-15, 2020
Module 1 — May 20-31: Wilderness First Aid & Map, Compass and GPS Navigation, group management techniques, community building initiatives and volunteer management. Restoration Project: Streamside debris and trash removal
Module 2 — June 3- 14: Hydrological Cycle, including aquifers and surface flow and Invasive non-native plant eradication techniques. Restoration Project: Invasive exotic riparian plant removal along Millard canyon stream
Module 3 — June 17-28:Fundamental concepts stream ecology, and fluvial geomorphology
Restoration Project: Streambank restoration and stabilization along Millard canyon stream
Module 4: —July 1 – 12: Plants of the Chaparral, Riparian and Coastal Sage Scrub communities, Watershed features, functions and human impact analysis Restoration Project: Creating defensible fire space (Brush removal) on the watershed boundary
Module 5 — July 15-26: Trail engineering and maintenance techniques, understanding jurisdictional delineations. Restoration Project: Watershed trail restoration, fugitive trail removal
Module 6 — July 29 -Aug 9: Watershed features, functions and human impact analysis and streambank stabilization and sediment control. Restoration Project: Streambed Restoration and stabilization and Wildlife habitat enhancement
Graduation —August 17
Grant Cycle End Reporting — October 1