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People of Color Engaging in Nature: Kids Camp at Hastings Reserve

Raised toward our $2,500 Goal
9 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on November 30, at 11:59 PM PST
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People of Color Engaging in Nature: Kids camp at Hastings Reserve

We are trying to raise some money to host P.E.N. (People Of Color Engaging in Nature), an outdoor education and science enrichment program at the Hastings Reserve. In May 2022 we held our first P.E.N. event. It was an incredible success. We are committed to provide free, high quality, immersive science opportunities for students at Hastings Reserve, but in order to accomplish this, we need a little help from you. Please consider making a gift today!

Hastings Reserve is a UCB field station located in Monterey County's upper Carmel River watershed. Our nearest neighbors live in the rural community of Cachagua. Many Cachagua residents are from low-income and/or immigrant families from Mexico/Central America. Students in this region often travel 1 1/2 hours by bus, each way, to attend schools where the science curriculum is centered around coastal and marine environments, rather than the oak woodland and chaparral ecosystems that typify their own backyards. It is difficult for Cachagua students to access science education and enrichment opportunities elsewhere on the Monterey Peninsula due to lengthy travel times, high costs, and language barriers. 

The P.E.N. program provides an opportunity for Cachagua students to get science education and enrichment closer to home. This program was conceived by Black and Latinx graduate students at UC Berkeley interested in providing education and mentorship to K-12 students in Cachagua, and to serve as role models for future careers in science. Research as shown that students of color are more likely to persist in science majors if they have even one course taught by an instructor sharing their racial/ethnic identity. Additionally, field based experiences, like P.E.N. have been shown to reduce the achievement gap between white students and students of color in ecology fields. We hope P.E.N. will encourage student interest in the sciences through the use of graduate student instructors and staff volunteers from diverse personal, professional, and ethnic backgrounds. 

Our first P.E.N. camp took place over Memorial Day weekend, 2022. We welcomed a cohort of students (9-13 years old) to Hastings to learn about mammalogy, ornithology, botany and archeology. We have designed this program to provide students with practical knowledge about plants, animals and ecosystems of our region, as well as the requisite gear to continue exploring. Each participant received a field kit that included a 18L backpack, a pair of Nocs Provisions binoculars, a Nalgene water bottle, a hand lens for magnifying plants and insects, as well as a field notebook, and pencils for making notes and recording observations. Students also received a Hastings Reserve t-shirt. 

We have already heard from parents and students interested in participating in the P.E.N. camp in 2023 and we are hopeful that we can offer this program again, with your help. It is critical that P.E.N. remains free for all participants. This means that we need to raise funds to support this program into the future. In 2022 we received support from the Community Fund for Carmel Valley (to Hastings Reserve), and the Carol Baird Graduate Student Award (to UCB graduate student Cesar Estien), but we currently have no funding to support this program in 2023.

Thank you for your support! All gifts through this campaign will go to the The Friends of the Hastings Reserve Fund and we will support P.E.N. through this initiative.

For more information email Jen Hunter at or visit our Facebook page:


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