GEECe’s motto remains “Educating Tomorrow’s Leaders.”
The Grassland Environmental Education Center (GEECe) is a no-fee field trip facility that was established in 1995, by the Grassland Water District (GWD) as an opportunity for school students to learn about the ecologically significant wildlife habitats located in the San Joaquin Valley’s Grassland Ecological Area (GEA).
Children that understand the ecological importance of our wetland resources will become adults that make informed decisions regarding habitat conservation.
GEECe’s mission is to depict the many significant contributions that wildlife managers, the agricultural community, sportsmen and environmentalists all make in conserving our San Joaquin Valley (SJV) wetland and farmland resources. Since 2008, more than 40,000 students, teachers and adults have attended fieldtrips, in-class presentations and exhibits sponsored by GWD and GEECe’s education coordinator.
The CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife became a partner with GWD in 2000, providing a biologist to operate GEECe. In 2007 the Grassland Environmental Education Center and the Van Atta Interpretive Marsh moved from its original location at Liberty Packing in Volta, CA to the Los Banos Wildlife Area. GEECe’s on-site activities incorporate Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for science, math and social studies, as well as, the Environment in Education Initiative (EEI) concepts in a fun and informal setting. Participation from area schools, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, home-school groups and university students has steadily increased in the last few years. GEECe provides on-site activities, in-class presentations and has substantially increased exhibits at public nature-themed venues.
In 2010 GEECe, along with other GEA organizations, participated in the Merced County Fair’s Water, Wetlands and Wildlife, exhibit receiving an award from the International Fair Association. In 2011 and 2012 GEECe, and other GEA organizations, worked with new partners from Stanislaus County to provide entertaining and informative displays for the Stanislaus County Fair.