Tree care and planting program engages next generation in fun educational program that nurtures Tribal Nation lands for a more sustainable future.
Students and leaders from the Rincon Tribe gathered with members of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation (AHLF) and SDG&E this weekend to plant 50 native trees in Valley Center. Prior to their planting, the oak, sycamore and cottonwood trees were adopted by children participating in AHLF’s Academy of Environmental Stewardship program, which incorporates a mix of classroom education, field trips and service projects to engage the students in tackling climate change.
“The Rincon Tribe has cared for this land for more than 10,000 years, and we are excited to see our people engaged in the planting of these trees,” stated Chairman Bo Mazzetti of the Rincon Tribe. “The oak tree is significant to our culture and history; it has provided sustenance, shade, and shelter to our people. We are thankful to SDG&E and Agua Hedionda for providing us with this gift of life.”
Through a variety of interactive learning opportunities, AHLF expands access to environmental education to children throughout San Diego County. AHLF programming seeks to inspire kids to appreciate and care for the natural environment, including raising healthy trees for the region. The planting at the Rincon Tribe reservation in Valley Center represents the culmination of a multi-month project in which students selected a sapling to care for in their home, learning about tree care and maintenance in the process.
“Early environmental education helps develop young stewards for our community,” said AHLF CEO Lisa Cannon-Rodman. “Our Academy of Environmental Stewardship provides first-hand experience in the natural world to teach children how to make smart, sustainable choices for the future.”
Since 2021, SDG&E has made a commitment to provide at least 10,000 trees annually to communities throughout the company’s service territory. Collaborations with Tribal Nations like the Rincon Tribe are instrumental to reaching this ambitious goal, which is part of the company’s sustainability strategy. The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation is part of SDG&E’s Environmental Champions Grant Program, which supports local nonprofits that demonstrate a strong commitment to community-based environmental education and enhancement.
The Rincon Tribe is a sovereign government recognized by the United States of America. The Tribe owns Harrah’s Resort Southern California and uses profits from this and other commercial enterprises to provide government services including police and environmental enforcement; economic development; healthcare and culture programs; and a tribal court. At no cost to taxpayers, Rincon’s public safety operations respond to emergencies in the neighboring communities, with the majority of calls generated outside the Reservation. Rincon’s tribal enterprises are significant contributors to the San Diego County economy through job creation, tax generation, purchase of local products and services and charitable donations. Learn more at www.rincon-nsn.gov.
The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation Academy of Environmental Stewardship provides hands-on, collaborative lessons that stress responsible interaction with our natural surroundings and creates awareness of the environmental impacts of day-to-day human activity. Kindergartners through fourth graders, and now seventh graders participate in a series of rotations that teach about climate science including causes, effects and everyday solutions of climate change, sources of water pollution, native plants and peoples, natural resource conservation and habitat preservation, water reduction, recycling, and earth science. Lessons are aligned with Common Core, history and social sciences, Next General Science Standards and STEAM concepts with a career pathways component. Learn more at www.aguahedionda.org.