WALNUT CREEK, CA–According to the report, The Path Ahead, “Today, kids spend less time outside than prison inmates, with the average child playing freely outside for just four to seven minutes a day.” This study, commissioned by the REI Co-op, notes that the average American now spends about 95 percent of their life indoors. It further reports that we are becoming an “indoor species,” which comes with consequences: “Our health and well-being may suffer. And the less we value our outdoor spaces, the less likely we are to protect them.” The Path Ahead makes it clear that the long march indoors is not inevitable, and that we are at a crossroads. To counter this trend, Save Mount Diablo (SMD), Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School (JMIS), and sponsor Bedell Frazier Investment Counselling, LLC (BFIC) signed a Conservation Collaboration Agreement on Wednesday, February 27, 2019.

“After studying and working in the conservation field for over 30 years, I have come to realize that the most significant threat to the environment is the lack of meaningful connections between people and nature, which results in us lacking the love and will required to fully address major environmental threats like climate change. Nature is a spiritual portal, and the experience we had on Save Mount Diablo’s conserved land with students from Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School and the staff of Bedell Frazier Investment Counselling reminds us that if we quietly and respectfully enter nature, we will be transformed for the better—and in that lies our hope for salvation and survival,” said Ted Clement, Save Mount Diablo’s Executive Director. He went on to state, “Save Mount Diablo is incredibly grateful for, and inspired by, Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School and Bedell Frazier stepping up to be part of our new Conservation Collaboration Agreement program.”

The Conservation Collaboration Agreement has three basic parts. For the first part, on February 27, staff of SMD provided educational presentations regarding land conservation of the Mount Diablo area to the participating students of JMIS at their school and to employees of BFIC at their office.

Second, on February 28, SMD staff and naturalist Judy Adler taught and led the participating students of JMIS and the employees of BFIC in a nature service project, involving the removal of invasive plant species, and an interpretive nature hike at SMD’s conserved Big Bend property along Marsh Creek Road. The outing also included a solo on the land for each participant in which they did a contemplative journal writing exercise reflecting on the Mount Diablo natural area.

Finally, in an act of educational and participatory philanthropy, the students raised money to become members of SMD through SMD’s new discounted youth membership program.

BFIC generously sponsored the Conservation Collaboration Agreement to help get more kids connected to nature and SMD’s time-sensitive land conservation mission.

Regarding the Conservation Collaboration Agreement, Moraga School District Superintendent Bruce Burns stated, “An outdoor educational experience, surrounded by nature, provides students the experience of an ever-changing and free-flowing environment that stimulates all the senses and fosters intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Save Mount Diablo and Bedell Frazier to offer students hands-on land preservation and natural resource learning.”

“The Conservation Collaboration Agreement offers students the opportunity to leave the confines and comforts of the 21st century connected classroom and venture out into local open space on a true field trip. A day hiking along twisted paths, feeling the dirt under their boots, and smelling the fresh air allows for busy minds to slow down. As they learn about and experience the natural beauty around them, students can begin to contemplate their role in nature. Through the service project they are better able to measure how their footprint can be restorative rather than destructive. Ultimately, a day outdoors begins to reconnect us all to Mother Earth and reminds us that we can and must protect her,” said JMIS Teacher Dawn Lezak.

On behalf of sponsor BFIC, Michael Frazier, President of BFIC, noted, “As investment professionals, we are honored to be a part of this dynamic group and invest in our next generation. We want to educate our kids on the uniqueness of the Bay Area landscape so they can appreciate its natural beauty. Plus, we want to get kids to spend more time outside!”

Save Mount Diablo

SMD is a nationally accredited, nonprofit land trust founded in 1971 with a mission to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, and watersheds through land acquisition and preservation strategies designed to protect the mountain’s natural beauty, biological diversity, and historic and agricultural heritage; enhance our area’s quality of life; and provide recreational opportunities consistent with the protection of natural resources. Learn more at www.savemountdiablo.org.

Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School

JMIS has a mission to prepare students for the future, to develop a life-long love of learning, to provide a positive and safe environment for learning, to provide positive development of self, and to provide opportunities for students to be constructive and contributing members of the community and society. Learn more at https://jms-msd-ca.schoolloop.com.

Bedell Frazier Investment Counselling, LLC

BFIC is a local investment counselling business that focuses on investment management, financial planning, smart money, and giving back to the community. Learn more at https://www.bedellinvest.com/.

High Resolution Images and Press Release Files: http://bit.ly/CCA-2019-Feb

Image Credits & Caption: All photos please credit Al Johnson.

Save Mount Diablo (SMD) Conservation Collaboration Agreement with Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School (JMIS) and Bedell Frazier Investment Counselling, LLC (BFIC). The event was held at SMD’s Big Bend property located on Marsh Creek Road in Clayton, CA. Participants included JMIS sixth grade students and Teacher Dawn Lezak, BFIC staff, naturalist Judy Adler, and SMD staff and volunteers.

  1. Group photo
  2. Signing of Conservation Collaboration Agreement – group including JMIS Teacher Dawn Lezak, Save Mount Diablo Stewardship & Outreach Associate Denise Castro, President of Bedell Frazier Investment Counselling Michael Frazier, Save Mount Diablo Executive Director Ted Clement, and Moraga School District Superintendent Bruce Burns
  3. Signing of Conservation Collaboration Agreement – JMIS Teacher Dawn Lezak, President of Bedell Frazier Investment Counselling Michael Frazier, Save Mount Diablo Executive Director Ted Clement, and Moraga School District Superintendent Bruce Burns
  4. Students and staff starting their interpretive nature hike, with school bus in background
  5. Environmental service project – sixth graders weeding milk thistle
  6. Environmental service project – group of students and staff of BFIC and SMD next to giant pile of milk thistle that they removed
  7. Environmental service project – ecology lesson with Judy Adler
  8. Environmental service project – ecology lesson with Judy Adler
  9. Sixth graders eating lunch
  10. Solo reflecting in nature under blue oaks – group of students and BFIC and JMIS staff
  11. Solo reflecting in nature among blue oaks – close-up of kids journaling
  12. Solo reflecting in nature among blue oaks – close-up of Bedell Frazier staff member

CONTACT:

Caleb Castle, Communications Manager, Save Mount Diablo;

T: (925) 947-3535 x17, C: (925) 451-8376, ccastle@savemountdiablo.org

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