The Class of 2022 visited the Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve on Oct. 10 for this year’s Frosh Service Trip. Students spent the day clearing the preserve’s trails and maintaining its fire lines, which are used to inhibit the spread of fires. The students arrived in the morning and were divided into groups to work on different areas.
Special activities were added to this service trip to help the students deepen their understanding and respect of the natural landscape. Art teacher Pilar Agüero-Esparza organized a drawing activity inspired by Coyote Valley’s longstanding oak trees, which she preceded by having the students “consider how the Ohlone and other indigenous peoples of Northern California completely relied on the oak trees for food, shelter, warmth, medicines, cultural crafts, etc.” Biology teacher Mike Pistacchi led his students on a brief hike and had them “notice nature” in a silent observation exercise.
Students expressed happiness at being given the opportunity to help preserve the area. “Not only did I realize how much effort went into maintaining a trail, but also I am overjoyed that I improved the environment for future hikers,” said Andrea Thia. “It is comforting to know I have impacted Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve in a positive way, even if it was just a very small amount.”
“Watching the path get cleared was pretty satisfying in that we could instantly see the effects of our hard work,” added Callie Mayer. “While it was very tiring and the work load was very intimidating, it was overall a good experience and worth it so that we as a class can contribute to making the environment better and more clean.”
Students also said they would like to return to Coyote Valley in the spring to continue their effort and also to see how the preserve looks during a different time of year. “I think getting to volunteer with friends made the experience more enjoyable and seeing it in the spring with that same group would be cool,” said Nageena Singh.