Education Programs Grow Bay Stewards

8th grader Anya's class connected with the Bay through Save The Bay's Restoration Education Program.
8th grader Anya’s class connected with the Bay through Save The Bay’s Restoration Education Program. Watch her story.

Budding Bay Saver Anya Tucker is busy. From writing her first science fiction novel to persuasively advocating for a healthy environment, she is an impressive example of what’s possible when you invest in the next generation of creative problem solvers, scientists, and stewards.

An 8th grader from Oakland’s Julia Morgan School for Girls, Anya’s class spent a day doing tidal marsh restoration work and studying the science of the San Francisco Bay with us in April.

Her teacher Jess Dang connected with Save The Bay when she was looking for real-world science opportunities for the school’s Go Girl! Leadership program. “Quality, hands-on science is so important for youth, but girls especially. Even though the achievement gap is being closed in schools, women still lag behind men in engineering, math and science careers,” says Dang.

When Kay Kerr, Sylvia McLaughlin, and Esther Gulick founded Save The Bay in 1961, women made up just 7.3 percent of the United States’ Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) PhDs.

We’ve come a long way since then. Today, 41 percent of STEM PhDs are women. It’s a heartening statistic, but a PhD does not translate into a life in science and community leadership. When it comes to the actual STEM workforce, only 27 percent are women.

Empowering women in science means showing girls they belong in the field. For Ms. Dang, working with Save The Bay is a no-brainer. “The girls can really see the change they are making in the Bay.”

Anya has always hated cigarettes and smoking, but her field program with Save The Bay gave her an environment-wide view of the problem. “I never realized how many of those cigarette butts dropped on the ground actually end up in the Bay… We get one planet to live on and it’s our choice how we treat it.”

At Save The Bay, we are grateful for the strong, passionate scientists on our team who foster an educational experience that emphasizes creativity, inquiry and getting your hands dirty to restore tidal marsh one seedling at a time. Every year, 2,000 youth join us on the shorelines and tidal marshes, and through our work we hope to inspire the next generation of Bay scientists and stewards.

Save The Bay is always looking for new ways to share the stories of our restoration programs, so we were excited to use Adobe Voice to transform Jess and Anya’s experience into the video above.