California Regional Environmental
Education Community

California Department of Education,
STEM Office

Orange County Region 9b Newsletter 
Winter, January 2017   

New Science Framework for
California's Public Schools Approved       

At the beginning of November 2016, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that the State Board of Education voted to approve a new Science Framework for California's public schools. According to the California Department of Education's News Release, "California becomes the first state in the nation to adopt a Science Framework based on Next Generation Science Standards and is now poised to lead the nation in rolling out a rich, updated, 21st century science curriculum . . . Beyond updated science content, the Science Framework encourages a new teacher-student dynamic with the teacher becoming more of a facilitator, asking questions and encouraging discovery. Students conduct experiments and lead the scientific inquiry." "This framework will help our students become the scientists and technology leaders of the future as well as citizens who are knowledgeable and understanding of the natural world and the environment," Torlakson said. Read the entire CDE News Release.

NGSS Rollout #4 will launch in Spring 2017 and focuses on the new Science Framework. Click here for additional information regarding dates and locations (

A pre-publication version of the new Science Framework will be posted in early 2017 at the CDE Science Curriculum Frameworks web page ( The published version (online only) will be ready by July 2017.

The Science Framework interweaves environmental literacy with scientific content, practices, and crosscutting concepts. Read Dr. Lieberman's article, referred to below, to learn how this is a watershed moment for environmental literacy for California's K - 12 students.

- Helen de la Maza, CREEC Coordinator, Region 9b
What's New in Region 9b and Statewide   

Monthly Beach Cleanups

Invite your friends and family out to Orange County Coastkeeper's monthly cleanup events to keep our beaches clean, and learn about coastal conservation and marine debris. The cleanups are held the 1st Saturday in San Clemente State Beach and the 2nd Saturday in Huntington State Beach. Find out more about the monthly beach cleanups

Shell Science Lab Challenge

Deadline: January 23, 2017
Click here to nominate someone or apply online
The annual Shell Science Lab Challenge Competition, created in 2010, recognizes outstanding middle and high school programs for their exemplary approaches to science lab instruction utilizing limited school and laboratory resources, and raises awareness and exposure of the outstanding work being done in the science education field.
For more information, contact Amanda Upton, the Shell Science Lab Challenge Competition liaison, at 703-312-9217 or

California Coastal Art & Poetry Contest

Deadline: January 31, 2017
California students in kindergarten through 12th grade are invited to submit artwork or poetry with a California coastal or marine theme to the Coastal Commission's annual Coastal Art & Poetry Contest. For rules and entry form, the contest flyer, and helpful links for teachers and students, visit

Free Webinar Series: Environmental Literacy in History-Social Science

The California History-Social Science Project is offering a free webinar series focused on highlighting how environmental literacy can support learning in the history-social science classroom. The first two webinars (overview and high school-focused) in the series are now available to view online. Two more webinars geared towards middle school and elementary teachers are planned for the coming months. Visit their website to learn more.
Local Events
Teacher Get Together at Crystal Cove State Park, 2 p.m. - sunset
Location: Crystal Cove State Park
Are you an educator looking for helpful resources and/or looking to meet and connect with other like-minded educators who love science and the outdoors? Come meet your local NSTA Representative, Alison Thalmann; CREEC Coordinator, Helen de la Maza; and Crystal Cove State Park's Interpretative Naturalist, Winter Bonnin, who will share about resources and services to offer you as teachers. After, we will walk about a ½ mile along the sand to learn about the tide pools. Snacks will be provided.
RSVP to Alison Thalmann (
Download the Teacher Get Together at Crystal Cove State Park Flyer
Place-based Education Webinar presented by Amy Demarest, 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Information and registration link:
Free online webinar hosted by Green Teacher
In contrast to so much of schooling that is presented with little or no context, place-based education offers educators opportunities to build skills, knowledge, and aptitudes with engaging storylines. Places-natural and built, rural, urban and suburban all provide compelling narratives which students can investigate as they build the many points of understanding and proficiencies required in K-12 schooling. The presentation will include examples and discussion about what constitutes excellent place-based curriculum and student work and how these authentic products inspire deep learning.
Teachers Night Out at the ENC: Radical Resources, 4-7 p.m.
Location: Environmental Nature Center, Newport Beach, CA
Click here to register
Resolve to be an even better teacher in 2017! Cindy Berglund of  Rain Barrels Intl. will give a short presentation on rain barrels and give you some ideas for incorporating them into your curricula. OC-CREEC Coordinator Helen de la Maza will share environmental education resources. Alison Thalman of the National Science Teachers Association will guide you in practicing some modeling activities to help you begin implementing NGSS in your classroom. We'll discuss the importance of collaborating, learn about great free online resources, and give you some fabulous ideas - and resources - to take away with you. The afternoon will conclude with a light dinner around the campfire. Fee: $5.
Schoolyard Forest Workshop for TK-12 Educators: Build Environmental Literacy Supporting NGSS and History-Social Studies, 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: Chino Basin Water Conservation District; 4594 San Bernardino Street, Montclair, CA 91763
Register online:
Download PLT Workshop Flyer
- Become a Project Learning Tree certified educator.
- Be engaged in a hands-on workshop for both formal, informal, and after-school educators.
- Investigate environmental topics with indoor and outdoor activities.
- Receive PLT's PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide
- Receive information and support for local funding opportunities.
Cost: $25 (includes light breakfast, lunch, and Environmental Education Activity Guide)
Astronomy Night, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Location: The Richard and Donna O'Neill Conservancy
Information and registration link:
Visitors traveling to sparsely populated areas are usually delighted to discover how many more stars are visible than at home. If you've not yet caught a glimpse of the Milky Way, come out to The Reserve for Astronomy Night where you can still view many more celestial phenomena than elsewhere in urbanized Orange County! Enjoy an evening outdoors, as you gaze into the heavens, learn the constellations, and peer through the telescopes of our volunteer astronomers. Adult: $10, Child: $5
Teachers on Trails with Inside the Outdoors, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Location: Rancho Soñado, Silverado, CA
RSVP by March 10, 2017 (limited space available)
Download Teachers on Trails March 2017 flyer
Are you an educator looking to energize your classroom with some fun, fascinating, hands-on learning programs? Inside the Outdoors specializes in affordable, grade-specific, science and social science programs specifically designed to support Common Core State Standards and develop 21st century skills. Free! Join us for a day of hiking and learning all about what Inside the Outdoors can offer your classroom. Bring the family along!
Digging Deeper into NGSS with Informal Educational Organizations, 8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Location: Chino Basin Water Conservation District, 4594 San Bernardino St., Montclair, CA 91763
Register online:
Join in for Session 3 of the NGSS Mini-Series for Informal Educational Organizations. Learn about the California Environmental Principles and Concepts (EP&C). Explore how environmental literacy is woven throughout the newly adopted California Science Framework and the California History-Social Science Framework. Experience hands-on learning bringing science and history/social science together. Network with other Informal Learning Organizations and learn about Meet and Greet opportunities in partnership with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). Attendance at previous sessions not required.Light Breakfast and Materials will be provided. Cost: $35 (includes light breakfast and materials; lunch is on your own)
National NSTA Conference
Location: Los Angeles Convention Center, CA
Attend the National Science Teachers Conference and join thousands of science educators and leaders from throughout the nation as we continue to improve science education for ALL students!
Online registration and information:
Volunteer Opportunity! Work 8 hrs. and receive a 50% reduction in registration. Work 16 hrs. and received a waived registration. Indicate your interest in volunteering.

A Watershed Moment for Environmental Literacy for All K-12 California Students

Nov. 4, 2016
Dr. Gerald A. Lieberman, Ph.D.

We have entered into a new era for K-12 science education and the drive for environmental literacy for all California students. This new era is marked with five major breakthroughs represented throughout the framework - a call for science instruction that:
  • engages students as active participants in their own learning, where they do science rather than just reading about it
  • is relevant to local communities and student interests, (where) content and skills build on students' existing experience to learn about and solve real-world problems
  • has an explicit focus on Environmental Principles and Concepts (EP&Cs)
  • incorporates outdoor and environmental learning experiences (as) powerful tools for implementing key instructional shifts required by the CA NGSS and California's Environmental Principles and Concepts
  • provides broad-reaching guidance to teachers and publishers about making instructional connections between the EP&Cs and NGSS for all students-from kindergarten to high school.
Read the rest of the Dr. Lieberman's article (opens in a new window)


Sources for teachers and providers

View Funding Resources
Disclaimer: These professional learning opportunities and resources are intended merely to provide access to information. The California Department of Education (CDE) has not reviewed these opportunities or resources for effectiveness or alignment with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). CDE does not warrant or guarantee the effectiveness or results of any opportunity or resource that may be made available through this communication network. The inclusion of an opportunity or resource is neither an endorsement nor recommendation by CDE. Please excuse formatting errors that may result from the software application used to distribute this newsletter.

The California Regional Environmental Education Community (CREEC) Network is an educational project supported by the California Department of Education in collaboration with state, regional and local partners. Its expansive communication network provides educators with access to high-quality educational resources to enhance the environmental literacy of California Students.

Shannon Gordon, CREEC Network State Contact,, STEM Office, California Dept. of Education, 1430 N Street, Suite 4309, Sacramento, CA 95814

In Orange County, CREEC is housed and supported by Inside the Outdoors, OCDE.
Helen de la Maza,

STAY CONNECTED WITH US Like us on Facebook

View the Newsletter Archive

Sign up, update your email address, or change your newsletter subscription preferences by typing your email address in the " Newsletter Subscription" box.