By Alexandra Huynh
Started over twenty years ago as a gift to students and the community, Mira Loma’s Arcade Creek Project may no longer be in operation.
Last year, the San Juan Unified School District cut funding towards the Arcade Creek Project. Unable to meet the changing requirements of a Career and Technical Education course, the Arcade Creek Project effectively lost all means to buy essential materials and compensate teachers for the time spent on the project.
This development directly impacts students in the IB Program who must complete a collaborative science project, called the Group 4 Project, to receive their IB Diploma Certification. The Arcade Creek Project can no longer satisfy this requirement—that is, not to the extent that it used to.
IB Science teachers at Mira Loma have already met to discuss the development of a “Mini Creek Project” to serve as the new Group 4 Project. Hypothetically, IB juniors would go on a one-day outing led by current seniors with data-collection experience. Using their data as a starting point, students would then formulate a research question and answer it. In light of school closures, however, this outing has been canceled, and the fate of the Arcade Creek Project remains ever uncertain.
While this presents a challenge for Mira Loma’s students, the loss of the Arcade Creek Project will also be felt by the community at large. According to biology teacher Mark Porter—who has been involved with the project for over 15 years—Mira Loma’s students “…were the only entity doing a scientific study of the creek.” This data was used by the County of Sacramento and companies such as Jones & Stokes Associates Inc. to critically assess the Arcade Creek’s health.
Mira Loma’s students also made up the majority of volunteers at local environmental festivals like Creek Week and Effie Yeaw’s Walk on the Wild Side. “We were definitely noticed and appreciated in the community,” remarked Porter. Some of these students even went on to careers in environmental studies as a result of their work in the Creek Project.
For now, prospects of restoring the Arcade Creek Project to its former capacity seem bleak. Hundreds of senior students will leave this year, and with them leaves the know-how to run the various studies of the Arcade Creek Project. Restarting the Creek Project would require extensive manpower, training, and funds that are currently unavailable.
There are presently no plans for handling the data collected over the past 20 years.