Ventura- River Action Network 'V-RAN'
Ventura Unified School District (VUSD), the MERITO Foundation and UC Davis Center for Community and Citizen Science have partnered with a new environmental education and action project for 8th-12th grade students to participate in the monitoring and restoration of the Ventura River Watershed from August 2021-July 2024 by working with VUSD science teachers.
What exactly is V-RAN?
The V-RAN program includes Professional Development (PD) outdoors in the field, PD webinars, Science Curricula, and stipends to science teachers of VUSD enrolled in the program. The teachers' students (~600-700 per school year) are participating in in-class science activities, virtual and in the field youth citizen science experiences at Ventura River Watershed, and project-based learning through the EECCOA Challenge (a green STEM competition) with cash and in-kind prizes for students, and funds to implement the most cost-effective proposal to reduce the carbon footprint of the school campus authored by the students.
VUSD science teachers test new water monitoring equipment with NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary staff and volunteers during a teachers PD training.
V-RAN is primarily sponsored by NOAA B-WET, Ventura Water, and UC Davis Center for Community and Citizen Science. At the core of the program is the curriculum of MERITO Foundation’s EECCOA Program being adapted by the participating teachers for VUSD. A unique component of V-RAN is the involvement of the students on the monitoring and restoration of the Ventura River Watershed in support of the removal of the Matilija Dam. This phase of the program is supported by UC Davis Center for Community Citizen Science in collaboration with multiple research and conservation organizations that have worked for many years to protect the Ventura River watershed.
VUSD science teachers test the water quality of the Ventura River at Foster Park during a teacher's PD training.
What does the V-RAN Program provide to Teachers and Students of VUSD?
Access to >25 science activities to choose from, drawn from the EECCOA Activity Guide and from sponsoring and partner organizations (NOAA, USC Sea Grant, e.t.c.) focused on climate, ocean, and energy literacy aligned to NGSS
Training on the use of curricula, on-field monitoring & lectures from expert guest scientists
The activities are available online for your students to use in a self-guided manner with directions, links to videos, assessment questions, and additional resources.
Stipends for fully participating teachers
Meaningful live field experiences at Ventura River Watershed led by project and partners staff in support of the monitoring and restoration efforts taking place.
Funding of students' bus transportation to the Ventura River Watershed
Tools for students’ environmental data collection, data visualization, and analysis
Live & virtual mentorship for students on how to design better their authored project proposals to reduce the carbon footprint of their school campus through the EECCOA Challenge
Cash prizes for the students’ authors of best 12-15 projects and seed funding for the best project to be implemented at students’ school campus
Why support the removal of the Matilija Dam in the Ventura River?
The 158 foot high Matilija Dam blocks a tributary of the Ventura River about 16 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Built in 1947, the dam has outlived its usefulness, and sediment fills almost its entire reservoir. With support from state and private funding, including the Open Rivers Fund program of Resources Legacy Fund, local stakeholders are working with dam owner Ventura County Watershed Protection District to plan, design, and finance the dam's removal. The removal of the Matilija Dam will benefit the community by addressing old, out-of-date infrastructure, expanding outdoor recreation opportunities, restoring habitat for steelhead trout, and enabling needed sediment to move downstream to beaches.