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The Havasi Wilderness Foundation has been busy visiting schools throughout Los Angeles whose students have experienced wilderness education in the great outdoors. Recently, HWF Founders, Marilyn Fordney and Alex Havasi were invited to Nestle Avenue Elementary to celebrate student achievement after a field trip to Topanga Canyon State Park.

Nestle Avenue Elementary School

Founders Alex Havasi and Marilyn Fordney were invited to visit four of the first-grade classes at Nestle Avenue Elementary in Tarzana, California. This was an exciting event because Alex and Marilyn were able to see what it is like to be a first-grade student in today’s educational system. The school has many cultures and for many of the first graders, English is their second language!

Each class completed an assignment writing a thank you letter as well as submitting a drawing explaining what he or she learned during their recent field trip to Topanga State Park. Our foundation has been funding this program since 2008-2009. Each class has 15 to 20 students.

The first stop was to visit Room 6, the classroom of Melissa “Missy” Kishner. Alex began by asking a question “What did you see when you went to visit Topanga State Park?” Almost every student in the class threw their hand up excitedly to answer. This was an enthusiastic bunch of children whose memories were excellent–“deer” “frog” “trees” “black beetle” “woodpecker” “acorns” “footprints of horses” “birds”!!!

Next, they visited Room 8–Mrs. Pamela Maggin’s class where the students were beginning to learn about clocks and telling time. After that, they stopped in at Room 10–Ms. Vanessa Nguyen, and in conclusion Room 9–Maria Lopez. Each class gave lots of enthusiastic responses and asked some questions as well. They talked about how and why they must take care of the plants and wildlife to live on Planet Earth.

At the end of the visits to each room of students, they gave out as a surprise a bookmark showing the Havasi Wilderness Foundation’s website and awarded each student a Scientific Study Participation medal on a forest green ribbon. The following group photographs were taken showing proud students wearing their medals after submitting award-winning assignments about their wildlife field trip experiences.

Thank you to the teachers and students for inviting us to visit Nestle Avenue Elementary and making us feel so welcome. Our best wishes to all of you for a fun and happy summer vacation after a semester of school work. Keep up your spirits and keep smiling to bring more joy to the world.

The Award Ceremony

To mark their achievement in hands-on education, students received scientific study participation medals from the Havasi Wilderness Foundation. Our hope is that these medals will encourage students to continue exploring their environment and to keep learning about the intrinsic connection between people and nature. We appreciate the drawings and messages of gratitude for helping to fund their trip and hope to continue this program into the future.

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