Robert Reich with Groundwork Executive Director Leslie Reynolds at EarthLab.
Robert Reich with Groundwork Executive Director Leslie Reynolds at EarthLab.

UC Regent Richard Blum and Dr. Robert Reich visited EarthLab on April 13, a University of California Community Station and physical community “hub” for UCSD partnership work.  EarthLab, developed by Groundwork San Diego, is a four-acre, community greenspace for outdoor, intergenerational learning located in southeastern San Diego. Groundwork promotes environmental, economic, and social well-being by engaging communities in projects with local relevance.

As a UC Community Station and physical hub, EarthLab connects UC San Diego’s research, teaching, and learning resources to area schools and community organizations. The Blum Center on UC San Diego’s campus is focused on linking UC San Diego to a growing list of community stations through undergraduate coursework particularly. The Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment and Teaching Excellence (CREATE) focuses on leveraging campus resources of all forms in partnership with community members to create K-20 (kindergarten through graduate school) opportunities to learn, through supporting partners across campus in the collective CREATE STEM Success Initiative. Dr. Bud Mehan, UC San Diego Emeritus Professor of Education, and founding director of CREATE, serves a key link between campus and EarthLab.

Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley; Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, and former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration. Blum and Reich made the visit to learn more about how EarthLab educators, community members and faculty from UC San Diego and CREATE collaborate with elementary, middle, and high schools in southeastern San Diego to integrate formal classroom instruction with informal, inquiry-based educational experiences at the EarthLab.

Professor Reich meets Patrice Baker and Carolyn Smith of Groundwork San Diego.
Professor Reich meets Patrice Baker and Carolyn Smith of Groundwork San Diego.

Colleagues from across UC San Diego, CREATE and the CREATE STEM Success Initiative collaborate with neighboring EarthLab schools and programs to develop dynamic curriculum for the EarthLab Community Station that supports the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards and the San Diego Unified School District A-G requirements.  The San Diego Science Project, housed at CREATE, works with area teachers to create a range of outdoor, hands-on science activities at EarthLab across the curriculum. The California Reading and Literature Project in CREATE supports the Early Readers/Future Leaders educational program, part of the Diamond Educational Excellence Partnership (DEEP) literacy initiative in southeastern San Diego schools, by integrating EarthLab activities into its summer reading program.

CREATE’s Engineering and Outreach Coordinator Dominga Sanchez, Srinivas Sukumar (CALIT2), and other colleagues from the NSF CIAN grant on campus, support engineering-focused programming at the EarthLab, along with students from the Global TIES program in the Jacobs School of Engineering. Sukumar is developing an “energy house” on the EarthLab that will enable K-12 and UCSD students to compare the efficiency of biofuels, solar panels, and other energy sources.

Dr. Bud Mehan, (right) with Reich and UC San Diego Associate Professor Fonna Forman, and Associate Professor Edwin ("Teddy”) Cruz, co-directors of the UCSD Blum Cross-Border Initiative.
Dr. Bud Mehan, (right) with Reich and UC San Diego Associate Professor Fonna Forman, and Associate Professor Edwin (“Teddy”) Cruz, co-directors of the UCSD Blum Cross-Border Initiative.
Richard Blum offered his support for Groundwork’s plan to acquire property adjacent to the EarthLab in order to develop the Chollas View Regional Park. UC San Diego Professor Cruz and Groundwork Executive Director Leslie Reynolds discuss the proposed expansion.
Richard Blum offered his support for Groundwork’s plan to acquire property adjacent to the EarthLab in order to develop the Chollas View Regional Park. UC San Diego Professor Cruz and Groundwork Executive Director Leslie Reynolds discuss the proposed expansion.

For more information on EarthLab, visit Groundwork-San Diego.  Read more about CREATE’s EarthLab learning activities via the San Diego Science Project/California Reading and Literature Project.