It was a great way to finish out Quincy Junior/Senior High School's Centennial year. On June 5th, the entire student body gathered on their Learning Landscape outdoor classroom to express gratitude and to dedicate the Leonhardt Ranch Learning Landscape Barn to outdoor learning and love of place for generations of Quincy High students to come.
Student body president Matt Beeson surprised the crowd when he swung open the hay door and addressed his fellow students, extolling the beauty of the barn (and his girlfriend!).
"All of you who are going to be here next year, encourage your teachers to bring you out here. I don't think there's anything more beautiful - except Brooke [laughter and applause] - than this Barn with Spanish Peak in the background, the fields with the cows. We have just such a unique opportunity at Quincy High School, and I hope everyone gets to enjoy it equally."
With a generous gift from visionary local donors, Grant and Cindy Edwards, FRLT built the barn as a home base for student learning, agriculture education, and restoration projects on the Quincy Learning Landscape, adjacent to Quincy High School. And students and community volunteers have been planting native plants and removing invasives.
Quincy High principal Sue Segura, FRLT Executive Director Paul Hardy, former landowner Rick Leonhardt, and Learning Landscapes coordinator Rob Wade welcomed the students to their new barn, and outdoor learning, for years to come:
"This year marks 100 years of Quincy High School and the community investing in one another. This barn is built to last until the next centennial. None of us will be here then, but the Feather River Land Trust has protected this land - in perpetuity - for you and for every generation of Quincy High students to come." ~ Rob Wade
More Lands Dedicated to kids' Learning and love of place
That very week, students and teachers at Portola High School and Loyalton schools gathered to dedicate their Learning Landscapes outdoor classrooms as well.
Portola High School:
Teacher Dave Valle, with support from Rob Wade and Learning Landscapes, garnered support from the Plumas County Fish & Game Commission, Portola Rotary, Plumas Unified School District, generous local contractors, and community members to accomplish a tremendous amount with his 7th-12th grade students. From an outdoor amphitheater, to water guzzlers for wildlife, to an interpretive loop trail, Portola High has created an ideal habitat not only for area wildlife, but for kids' learning and stewardship ethic.
Valle says, "Having outdoor learning right out our classroom door - with no need for field trip permission slips, organizing transportation, funding - makes it possible to do field studies and restoration work with our students every day if we want." Read the feature article on what Dave and his students have accomplished.
Loyalton Elementary and Jr/Sr High Schools
In Loyalton, you helped us conserve the 142 acre Smithneck Meadows Learning Landscape. The property now has a seating area, a trail, signage, and a safe entry. Students and teachers have embraced unplugged learning enthusiastically.
Lucas, a Loyalton High student says this about outdoor learning: "I like learning first hand. It's interactive. You can look at it, touch it, feel it, hear it, and smell it. Using all of your senses implants it in every part of your brain."
Outdoor classrooms in every community in the Upper Feather region
Conserving and dedicating natural outdoor classrooms within walking distance of every school in the Feather River Watershed (13 schools!) and then enhancing them with the kinds of features that make it easy for teachers to bring their students outside, is essential to Learning Landscapes' strategy of instilling a love of place- and the knowledge and passion to care for it - in the children of the Feather River Country.
At Quincy High's barn dedication, Executive Director Paul Hardy spoke to students' sense of belonging and love for this place:
"Looking through the barn's door to Spanish Peak, at the headwaters of the Feather River, I think of how the river flows from the Plumas to the Pacific, bringing water to communities along the way. Like the Feather River, many of you will flow to other parts of the state when you graduate, and make great contributions. And like the water that evaporates from the Pacific to give us rain here, some of you will return to Quincy, and make your contribution here." ~ Paul Hardy
Want to help?
As we start the new school year, we need your financial help. Learning Landscapes is funded by the Land Trust, small family foundations, and generous donors like you.
Please give as generously as you can and help us grow the next generation of stewards for the Feather River Country. (Write "Learning Landscapes" in the Notes.) Thank you!
Learning Landscapes is the Feather River Land Trust's conservation and education program designed to greatly enhance children’s contact with the natural world, place-based learning, and hands-on stewardship experiences. Founded in 2000 by local residents, the Feather River Land Trust has conserved more than 47,000 acres of private lands that support outstanding biodiversity, waterways, working ranches, recreation, children’s outdoor learning, and spectacular scenery.