Outdoor Education Center program
The Committee's Outdoor Education Center (OEC) program connects Los Angeles youth with the source of their water through multi-day programs at Mono Lake that focus on science and hands-on learning. With a combination of curriculum-based education, outdoor recreation, and stewardship projects, the OEC program teaches participants about natural and urban watersheds and ways that human activities can negatively or positively impact them.
Los Angeles Infrasctructure Academy students in the Mono Basin and Los Angeles watershed.
OUTDOOR EDUCATION CENTER PROGRAM OVERVIEW
In 1994 OEC began by connecting watershed education with two separate Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) projects related to Mono Lake: restoration of its tributary streams, and the City-sponsored Ultra Low Flow Toilet (ULFT) Distribution Program. Groups like Mothers of East Los Angeles and Los Angeles Conservation Corps participated annually in the program and assisted with restoration projects like tree planting on Los Angeles-owned land in the Mono Basin. The OEC program grew along with the success and evolution of water conservation programs throughout Los Angeles. Today OEC comprises more school groups and fewer community based organizations, but the program continues to emphasize watershed, conservation, and stewarship.
Overlooking Mono Lake with OEC participants.
Beginning in 1995, DWP became an active partner in the OEC program and provided leased property to the Mono Lake Committee to use as a program basecamp. Known as the Cain Ranch, this property is only six miles from Mono Lake, and it is still used by OEC participants today.
The ULFT program in the City was eventually discontinued due to its own success, but the Committee's education network expanded to also include Los Angeles area schools. In 2004 the Committee completed an OEC curriculum which is based on California Academic Content Standards and Curriculum Frameworks for K-12 Public Schools, and incorporated it into the OEC program.
A team-building activity above Lundy Lake in the Mono Basin watershed.
Program participants have included: Los Angeles Infrastructure Academy, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Roosevelt High School, Dorsey High School, Carson High School, Homeboy Industries, Outward Bound Adventures Los Angeles, various troops from the Greater Los Angeles Girl Scouts, and Olympic Academy, among others. Participants help with a variety of stewardship restoration programs including removing non-native plant species, watering newly planted trees along Rush Creek and Lee Vining Creek, and trail restoration.