Region 5: South Bay

Serving Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz Counties

Welcome to CREEC Region 5!

Look to this page for local environmental education news, funding, and upcoming events.

New Tool! Santa Cruz County Guide to NGSS and EE Programs

Santa Cruz County Quick Reference Guide to NGSS and Environmental Education Programs
This spreadsheet is a tool for educators, school administrators and organizations concerned with environmental literacy.
In it you will find:

  • Program information organized by grade level
  • EE Program descriptions with specific NGSS Connections
  • Links to Program Provider websites
  • Links to General NGSS Resources

If you have questions or find something that needs to be edited, please contact Amity Sandage, Region 5 CREEC Coordinator, at This tool was developed by the CREEC Region 5 and Santa Cruz County Office of Education with generous support from Community Foundation Santa Cruz County.

Local Funding Opportunities, Internships and Contests

Look at Agriculture… Organically! GrantThe ‘Look at Agriculture… Organically!’ grants are designed to creatively enhance the understanding of organic agriculture for kindergarten through eighth grade students. Grants of up to $1,000 will be provided educators nationwide. These grants are made possible by a partnership California Certified Organic Farmers and California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom.
Deadline: May 15, 2018
More information:

Mini-grants Up to $5,000 from Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD)
Through these mini grants, you can apply for funding related to water education. Also, SCVWD grants can now offer transportation assistance to schools/teachers wanting to send students to field trips with any water/watershed connections.  Apply for transportation to SCVWD free field trips or to another organization’s field trip, or apply for small projects on your school campus as well.  Full information is at  

PG&E STEM Scholarships
PG&E is awarding a wide variety of college scholarships-including the PG&E Better Together STEM Scholarships. Twenty scholarships of $10,000 each and 20 scholarships of $1,000 each are available to students in PG&E service areas who are pursuing a degree in an eligible STEM discipline at a four-year California college or university. Students planning to enroll in full time undergraduate study for the 2018-2019 academic year should apply by February 5, 2018 at Many other scholarship opportunities can be found at 

Professional Development Workshops

For Principals and School Leaders: Green Schoolyard Institute
Apply in early Spring 2018 for the Fall 2018 Institute in the San Francisco Bay Area
The Green Schoolyards America Principals’ Institute supports school administrators in their pivotal role as leaders of their school community and champions of a healthy and dynamic school environment. The Institute provides resources, advice, professional development and a peer network that helps principals adopt and sustain comprehensive, high quality, green schoolyard programs at their schools. For more information, go to

New NOAA Teachers on the Estuary Program: Climate Change and Blue Carbon!
Tuesday-Thursday, June 19-21 at Elkhorn Slough, for Teachers of Grades 6-12
This field-based workshop takes middle school and high school teachers into Elkhorn Slough to conduct data collection and learn skills with monitoring tools.  Using a Climate Change lens, the workshop features daily field lessons and guest scientists examining the value of estuaries to capture and hold carbon. Teachers will leave with many lessons to help them build a multi-day lesson plan. Lunch is included.
Register on the Elkhorn Slough Reserve website:
Questions: Virginia Guhin, Education Coordinator (831-728-2822)

Life Lab Professional Development Workshops
Learn to maximize the potential of an educational garden to breathe life into standards-based lessons; promote ecological literacy; encourage healthy eating; and support students’ social development.
June 21-22 – The Growing Classroom 2-Day Intensive on Garden-based Education
July 26-27 – Outdoor Classroom Management
Sept. 14 – Sowing the Seeds of Wonder Part 1
Sept. 15 – Sowing the Seeds of Wonder Part 2
Sept. 21 – Introduction to Next Generation Science in the Garden
Sept. 22 – Developing Your NGSS Lessons
Oct. 11-12 – Plant to Plate
Oct. 13 – Food Lab: The Kitchen Classroom
More information:

Fall 2018 Certified Training for the Salmon & Trout Education Program (STEP)
Saturdays, Sept. 15th and Sept. 22nd at Henry Cowell SP, Felton and NOAA Lab, Terrace Point
Join the STEP team on the banks of the San Lorenzo River in beautiful Felton for a weekend of field studies practice and training in the delivery of NGSS-supporting STEP lesson plans. Deepen your content knowledge by learning the salmonid life cycle and habitat. Learn about aquatic insects and their connection to clean water. Work in a NOAA lab and streamside.
More information: Contact Meg Seibert, Education and Outreach Coordinator 831-688-1387 or

PROJECT WET (Water Education for Teachers) TRAININGS

October 6, 2018    ‘Water Quality, Land Use and Restoration Workshop: Rancho Cordova
SACRAMENTO REGION EDUCATORS!  The Sacramento Municipal Utilities District invites K-12 educators to join us this Winter for a FREE Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) workshop at Soil Born Farms. This workshop will be an interdisciplinary experience and exploration of activities designed to engage students the interrelationships between watershed processes, land use and water quality along the banks of the American River, while learning concepts and skills at the heart of Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. We will be engaging you in Project WET water activities tied to Soil Born Farm programs and stream restoration project. Participants will receive the Project WET 2.0 Guide with access to over 110 Common Core and NGSS correlated activities! To reserve your spot, please go online to register at

November 17, 2018 Project WET Workshop: Pleasant Hill
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY EDUCATORS! The Contra Costa County Water District invites you to this wonderful hands-on training and take-away materials for immediate use in your classroom.  You’ll experience a wide-range of activities that will spark student interest through investigations of their own environment– all of which have been correlated to Common Core and Next Generation Science standards. Hands-on experience with great water conservation activities and California specific content, a copy of the Project WET Guide 2.0 which includes free access to 40 additional Project WET activities, lunch and an opportunity to receive CEU credits! To register, please contact Justin Fivella, CCWD Public Information Specialist, at (925) 688- 8307 or


Suggested Resources

Bay Area Environmental STEM Institute (BAESI): an Environmental STEM Resource Hub for Teachers.

Green Ninja:  videos and middle school curriculum Redefining Superheroes: Story, Science, Solutions

Green Teacher Webinars: Various webinars offered throughout the year related to environmental education and sustainability topics. Register online for a webinar or to be added to the email list.

Shape of Life: free classroom videos based on an original PBS Series exploring the beautiful evolution of the animal kingdom, the way animals thrive and the innovative scientists who explore these creatures.

California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom: Lesson plans and resources to connect agriculture with a range of educational themes.

Using Phenomena in NGSS-designed Lessons and Units : Great resource for teaching through phenomena!


Upcoming Events

To view more events in this region and all regions click here.

Amity Sandage
Region Coordinator

Region 5 Highlights

Join the CalWater H2O Challenge!

Cal Water H2O Challenge is a project-based, environmentally-focused competition for classrooms, grades 4-6. Designed in conjunction with NAAEE, the WestEd K-12 Alliance, and Cal Water, and aligned with the Common Core State Standards and complimentary to the Next Generation Science Standards, Cal Water H2O Challenge offers a unique opportunity for upper elementary teachers to facilitate their students’ learning of standards-based content, while developing the core understanding of environmental principles necessary to becoming science-literate citizens.

School Programs Available with Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary offers educational programs for your classroom! Through hands-on experiential activities, students will gain a better understanding of the sanctuary and be inspired to protect this special place in the future. Choose from three field trip options–studying sandy beach environments, exploring the Santa Cruz wharf, or conducting a beach stewards cleanup–or, invite a fisherman into your classroom to share their exciting stories and passion for the ocean with your students (Fisherman in the Classroom program is currently only available to for Monterey County schools). For more information, email or visit 

Environmental Volunteer Opportunities in Santa Cruz County

Environteers provides one portal for easy access to the many rewarding environmental volunteer opportunities in Santa Cruz County as well as events and local environmental news and interviews.