January 31, 2012

This week our program is devoted to the Northstate Kids & Creeks project, which provides field trips to local parks and nature reserves to connect young citizens to their local environment while instilling a sense of stewardship through community involvement. Kids and Creeks has just launched a new radio show on KZFR, and you may have listened in to their inaugural program last Tuesday. They’ll be on the air every third Tuesday at 7 pm, immediately following Ecotopia, and we hope to do some joint programs with them. In the studio with us tonight will be the Kids and Creeks Executive Director, Jeremy Miller, and the Program Director, Scott Itamura. We’ll chat with them about their specific program and about the role that outdoor education can play in the lives of young people.

Our Conversation with Scott and Jeremy

This is Ecotopia on KZFR, and tonight we are talking about the Kids and Creeks educational program here in Chico and, more broadly about outdoor education and how it contributes and can contribute to quality education inside and outside our schools. With us in the studio are Jeremy Miller, the Director of Kids and Creeks and Scott Itamura, the Program Director. Welcome, Scott and Jeremy.

— Jeremy Miller: Let’s ask you to open by telling a little about Kids and Creeks. What is it? How long has it been around?

And tell us a little about yourself–you’ve been in outdoor education for almost two decades and have worked in Colorado, California, Oregon, New York, and Switzerland. How did you wind up in Chico with Kids and Creeks?

–Scott Itamura: You’re the curriculum and program director at Kids and Creeks, but you, too, have been involved in alternative education for over twenty years. What do you do at Kids and Creeks, and how did you first become involved?


–Before we get more into the Kids and Creeks programs, you have a fundraiser coming up this Saturday at the Women’s Club. Please give us the details.

–Let’s go into a little more about Kids and Creeks and how you operate. How many classes/students go through your program each year? Where do they come from? Do kids come once, twice, multiple times? What do the classes look like?

Where are the field sites?

–Scott: What is your “curriculum”? What do you want the kids to see, learn, do or achieve while they are with you? What are some examples of K&C lessons

–Jeremy: How are you funded? Do school districts pay to send kids to you? What’s the scope of your nonprofit fundraising efforts?

–Scott: One of your tasks is to align California State Standards to the K&C program. What does that entail? [Susan and Steve will probably have lots to say on this matter, having done alignment but being generally opposed to the standards-and-tests approach.] Do you only cover science standards?

What the #$%^^&*&* is ( Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Test Language?

–Outdoor education has been around for a while. Can you tell us a little about it and its various permutations. How do you see outdoor ed performing this function?

–Yours is an alternative program, with classes meeting outside of regular school classes. Have you ever thought about opening your own school that would be centered entirely on outdoor ed? Is that feasible? Could kids pursue an outdoor ed curriculum and still pass the standardized tests or get into Stanford?

–We’ve also been part of an organization called Science, Technology, and Society, that aims to get kids thinking about the unintended or unnoticed consequences of science and technology (e.g. automobile pollution, atomic waste, landfills). Are such concepts part of outdoor education?

–Let’s return for a few minutes to Kids and Creeks. What is Kids and Creeks planning for these days? What’s in the future for Kids and Creeks?

–How can interested listeners get involved as parents or volunteers?

–Please tell us again about your fundraiser this Saturday evening.

Thanks very much for being with us tonight: Jeremy Miller, Director of Kids and Creeks; Scott Itamura, Program Director. We also want to thank their Public Relations Director, Sammey Zangrilli, for arranging this interview.