ARCHIVED CONTENT: In December 2020, the CZO program was succeeded by the Critical Zone Collaborative Network (CZ Net) ×

NASA MODIS natural color image of the central and southern Sierra Nevada collected 2 April 2016.
On coast: cloud cover over San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas.
In mountains: Visible major river systems on the western side of the Sierra Nevada from north to south are Stanisalaus,Tuolumne, Merced, San Joaquin, Kings, Kaweah, Tule, and Kern. Mono Lake is East of the Tuolumne River.

The goals of the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory’s outreach and education program are:

1) Foster field site and data use among the critical zone research community

in order to create new knowledge about Earth’s critical zone and advance Earth systems models

2) Inform ecosystem and resource management decisions

for the security and resilience of resources and societies

3) Increase public interest in critical zone science

by educating the next generation of STEM professionals and reaching out to learners of all ages

Through outreach to multiple audiences and many partnerships across the region, state, and country, we work to achieve this mission. For the greater scientific community, we frequently share findings through publications and presentations, as well as serve as a platform for scientific research in multiple disciplines. Scientists visit our sites to collect samples for both independent and collaborative projects. SSCZO researchers and staff regularly engage with local, state, and federal officials; and regional watershed and forest management groups. And K-12, higher education, and public activities over recent years have included undergraduate critical zone course curriculum development and instruction, educational content and activity trainings with teachers, interactive booths at environmental festivals for schoolchildren and families, Master Gardener workshops using SSCZO findings, and local to national print and online news coverage.



Elementary school students from the Sierra foothill region near Auberry test soil texture. April 2016.


SSCZO - Science Days

Every year, SSCZO presents to hundreds of grade school students as part of Southern California Edison's Science Days in Shaver Lake. At the 2013 event, Southern Sierra staff presented on how the water cycle impacts local wildlife, and discussed several special local species with more than 500 students. Students, grades K-8 from 3 local schools, also learned about forest products, birds, and other topics at the other stations. Education and Outreach Coordinator Erin Stacy presented at all three days, but new summer employees also had a chance in front of the students. 

In May and June of 2012, SSCZO staff participated in the Southern California Edison Science Days. Elementary and middle school classes traveled to Camp Edison (outside Shaver Lake) and visited stations set up to teach about nature and science. The event theme in 2012 focused on plants. SSCZO staff facilitated an activity describing the water cycle in and around a single tree.

In 2011, the SCE Science Days theme was water. Southern Sierra CZO colleagues gave a presentation on hydrologic cycle and how researchers use various instruments to measure the water cycle.

SSCZO - 2011 field trip

This July 2011 outing allowed stakeholders and the public to see the cutting-edge research being conducted at the site. Five congressional staff and 2 state senate staff members attended, along with representatives of several local organizations. 

With SSCZO researchers Roger Bales, Matt Meadows and Carolyn Hunsaker, attendees toured the Providence flux tower, Critical Zone Tree-1, and meadow instrumentation, all located in subcatchment P301

SSCZO - CART Spring 2013 student group

The Spring 2013 student group from the Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART). Six students from CART designed and exectued a research project looking at differences in snow depth and density in relation to trees (including slope aspect, cardinal direction from tree trunk and tree canopy). The students learned how to use a federal snow sampler, and to dig a snow pit for refined snow density analysis. Two trips to the CZO Providence site offered the students onsite experience with CZO staff Matt Meadows and Erin Stacy and CART teacher Steve Wilson. Students will present final work in May. 

Associated Files

Agenda, 2013 Annual Meeting
(23 KB docx)
Agenda, information on discussion topics, and potential accommodations.

Education/Outreach News


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