‘They’re more excited, they’re more engaged’: BDOG highlights programs in underserved communities
- April 25, 2022 -

The field research programs that Sacramento’s Barrett Middle School participates in each year with Headwaters Science Institute might just be for one day, but the impact lasts far longer – sometimes for a lifetime.  

Seventh-grade teacher Lori Sindel-Wawro said she commonly hears students talking about the research they participated in days after the program has ended. 

I would say 99 percent of the kids talked about it afterward because they were in the stream or in the field and figuring out stuff on their own,” Sindel-Wawro recently told Headwaters. 

Research takes kids out of classrooms

This type of hands-on research takes Barrett students out of the classroom, away from the city and into the outdoors in places like Donner Summit. Unfortunately, Barrett and many of its families don’t have the ability to afford these types of experiences on their own, and they struggle to fundraise for these trips each year. 

That’s where Headwaters’ participation in Big Day of Giving comes in, allowing schools in Sacramento’s disadvantaged communities, like Barrett, to continue to offer these important hands-on learning activities. 

“They’re more excited, they’re more engaged in the activity, they’re asking questions, they’re finding things, they’re discovering stuff,” Sindel-Wawro said. “They’re just excited. They’re not in a sterile classroom, and you’re out in the field and you’re researching something you’re interested in because you picked the topic.”

Kids research topics such as bird populations, insects near the water vs. in the forest, how moisture affects plant growth or how water temperature changes fish populations. 

“I don’t ever have kids come away saying that was a bad trip”

It can be life changing. 

More than 90 percent of students who participate in Headwaters’ programs say they learn something they wouldn’t in a normal science class. The percentage of students interested in a career in science increased by more than 24 percent to 63 percent after a program. 

“I don’t ever have kids come away saying that was a bad trip,” Sindel-Wawro said. “It inspires some of them.”

You can have a direct impact on the life of a child who’s interested in science but doesn’t necessarily have the opportunity to expand their knowledge by participating in Headwaters’ 2022 Big Day of Giving fundraiser. Raising enough money will allow Headwaters to continue to make these types of programs free to schools like Barrett Middle School.