Youth & Families

Wild & Scenic for the Next Generation 

During the week of the flagship festival in Grass Valley and Nevada City, over 2,400 students from our local and neighboring communities participate in the Wild and Scenic School Program.

Participating schools for 2019 include: Grass Valley Charter School, Grass Valley Charter School Discovery Studies Program, Arete Charter Academy, The Nevada City School for the Arts, Bell Hill Academy Elementary School, Chicago Park Elementary School, Margaret G Scotten Elementary School, The Youth Environmental Sciences (YES) Charter Academy, Lyman Gilmore Middle School, Yuba River Charter School, Twin Ridges Home Study, Deer Creek Elementary, Bear River High School and Nevada Union High School.

“This year, we are excited to share a variety of conservation, science-based and environmental stewardship centered films for all three of our school programs. For example, for this year’s K-4 Program, we hope our theme Small But Mighty instills within both our young and young-at-heart ‘activists in the making’ a sense of the importance of how interconnected not only our ecosystems are, but how connected we are to them, and how something even as small-seeming as a newt or a salmon, play a huge role in the natural balance of a habitat’s ability to remain healthy and thrive. We hope these films ignite a sense of wonder and excitement to address complex environmental challenges and that these young people are our up-and-coming environmental leaders,” said Rachel Lubitz, SYRCL River Education Manager.

An important part of our school programs, Wild & Scenic creates film-specific, standards-based curriculum for participating educators from local elementary schools, middle schools and high schools for further classroom enrichment. This year’s curriculum packets include lessons donated by The Museum of Natural and Cultural History, The Africa Lion and Environmental Research Trust, Olympic National Park and The NY Times Social Studies Lesson Plans, Bears Ears Coalition, Bull Frog Films “Standing On Sacred Ground,” and The Northern Arizona University Library- Special Collections and Archives.

Teachers are provided a selection of curriculum tools. For example, they can make wildflower seed balls with their students to teach the relationship between plants and insects or study maps to get to know the local watershed.

Our Wild & Scenic education team offers a wide array of free and low-cost programs for audiences throughout our community. We shape learning experiences meant to spark intellectual and cultural connectivity while promoting the overarching value of the arts to society. Youth and teens explore the nature of creativity in all its forms through encounters designed to hone critical thinking skills while shaping their understanding of the world. Families can together enjoy child-friendly films, performances, and hands-on visual arts activities. Wild & Scenic is working to further develop our Youth program in 2019, including our International On Tour Program and Wild Child selection of films for younger audiences.

The Giant Palau Legacy Project, Host/Havas, Yukfoo, ROYGBIV | 4 min. 2019 Official Selection

Our 2019 Wild and Scenic School Program features the following films:

Kindergarten – Grade 4

Unexpected Discoveries

Wonder Plant Woman vs. The Invasive Plant Monster

March of the Newts

Clay Bolt

The Giant

Fire Followers


Meet the Real Wolf

The Last Straw

Save the Yuba

Grades 5 – 8


For the Love of Salmon

L’orchestre D’hibernation Animaux – How Animals Hibernate

Outnumbered in Africa

Climbing Out of Disaster

Think Like a Scientist: Renewal

Grades 9 – 12

Girls and Glaciers

Climb-It Change

Our National Parks Belong to Everyone


A full line-up of fun for the whole family can be found during the festival including 3D Movie Night at the Del Oro, Saturday Morning Kids Films, For older youth, Media with a Message: Youth Voices in Environmental Filmmaking.

Linking Wild & Scenic to River Education at SYRCL

SYRCL’s River Education program provides educational programs about Yuba salmon, water conservation, scientific monitoring, and watershed health to students and the larger community.  We work to engage local students, educators, conservation non-profits and community members through outdoor field expeditions and in-classroom experiences, ultimately inspiring young people to value their watersheds, understand our changing climate, and create links between Wild & Scenic film programming and SYRCL’s mission.

We accomplish this in a variety of ways, including:

Salmon Expeditions – By offering rafting and hiking salmon expeditions on or by our lower Yuba river watershed, we give students, parents and community members a first-hand, experiential learning opportunity to connect with our local ecosystem, the salmon life cycle and salmon ecology, and it’s importance as a keystone species first hand.

Great Water Mystery Assemblies & classroom “Water Audit” programs:  Kids learn how to take action to conserve water both at home, at school and beyond. Beyond our student enrichment, we also offer “Project Watershed Education Training” for teachers, to facilitate in classroom water conservation activities that complement local, state and national standards.

Field Science Programs – As a part of our efforts to connect with high school students, SYRCL Naturalists, Biologists and Hydrologists take them on multi-day field trips, where they assist with our restoration and river monitoring efforts, and learn, for example, how to remove invasive plants, restore salmon habitat and meadow health, and how these efforts ultimately impact the watershed.

Internships – We also recruit interns to educate and empower local students to help lead action on conservation within their own communities.

By informing and inspiring young people about the importance of the watershed in their backyard, the next generation becomes life-long advocates on behalf of the river and our natural treasures, both locally and beyond.