& Happenings

Saturday 15-FEB-2020

9:30a - 11:30a


We want to continue to work with local Bay Area environmental education groups (see below) and facilitate partnerships with schools for teachers and students to have regular exposure to offerings available to them in our area.  Our focus groups are grades 3, 4, 5 & 6 in MDUSD (Mt Diablo Unified School District), AUSD (Antioch Unified School District) and the Oakland Diocese schools in these same service areas.

We want to support schools with year-long environmental units consisting of fieldtrips, pre- and post- lessons and an associated project for each grade level.


We want to let you know about a great educational opportunity to share with your families and staff. Join experts from the Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, the mayor of Concord and Outside the Box 925, OTB 925, in serving our community and learning more about restoring native spaces in Concord. Did you know that November and December are the best months to plant native plants, trees and shrubs? These plants take root and take advantage of the water available during the rainy season.

This Saturday, December 7th, is the 7th annual “Giving Natives a Chanceplanting event in Concord. OTB 925 will be there to help teach about reducing waste by making the best use of natural materials and their properties. Please encourage your students to learn more and take action to protect their environment. This is a free event for families and children ages 6 and up.


We hope to see you there!

The OTB 925 Team

K-8th, Science & Technology

“When we try to pick out everything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe”. Earth, Planet, Universe - John Muir



 Sept of Service

There was a great showing for this last September of Service day, 9/28 including:

Interact club from Ygnacio Valley High School

Elementary team from Rocketship Elementary

Shiva Murugan Temple's Clean Team

New Hope Church

Mt Diablo Waste Recovery, Raymond Padilla, community outreach specialist

Henkel's Trash Heros

local residents

Vice Mayor, Tim McGallian & Councilmember, Edi Birsan  

...and of course OTB925!

OTB925 led a lesson about estimating trash volume and tallying of the amount of trash collected and the location of different collections.  There was very little trash found in the park, about 6L! Most trash was found along the BART tracks, about 200L, especially at the walking bridge overpass, where about 100L of trash was collected.  Trash is more likely to accumulate along the BART tracks and collects at blockages like the walkway overpass.  This is the same issue with trash circulating in the ocean.  When trash gets caught in a current made either by wind or water, it just follows the current's path until it gets to the end of the journey.  This typically ends in the middle of our oceans.

We didn't have the K-8th group we expected to teach to reduce trash using the 5R's of Materials Use: 1. Rot  2. Refuse  3. Reuse  4. Reduce and finally 5. Recycle. We did connect with high school students from YVHS’ Interact club and a family from Rocketship Elementary who want to bring environmental education into their own and their neighboring schools!  We also connected with Mt Diablo Waste Recovery's outreach specialist, Mr. Padilla.  We will continue the conversation on how to educate students and families to reduce the waste they make.

If you like to post any of the information or pictures, that would be great!  Ford’s pictures are also in the 28SEP folder compliments of iamfordphotography.  

Looks like September was the month for Service and now October is the month for environmental training!  We will keep you posted!!


Hello amazing BTS-2019 contributors,

We are happy that you were able to join us at the Back-To-STEAM Night 2019 on Sept 4th. We are excited and look forward to your future participation. I hope you each had a chance to tour the room and meet one another.  It is amazing to be part of serving the community of Contra Costa with such a large group of outdoor educators. We plan to stay connected with you and find ways to be more visible and easily accessible to teachers.

We learned a few lessons on coordinating this event and any feedback is warmly welcomed.  First of all, as a new business, we were not set up or prepared for the effort required to publicize this type of event.  

Secondly, while we had a good response to the original email broadcast with the invitation to pre-register and sign up, not many did. In the future, we will provide some "incentive of value" such as donated door prizes, access to downloadable material, etc. We know teachers are definitely interested and we timed the event to be after the long weekend and during the shorter teacher school day (with professional development afterward). Unfortunately, due to the short lead-time available, we were not able to effectively garner direct principal support, possibly even compensation for teacher time spent; teachers are just maxed out by the end of any school day.

Finally, when I did go to connect with principals directly, they had an immediate response of “Is this District approved”. The GOOD NEWS is the new MDUSD Superintendent Dr. Robert Martinez saw first-hand what OTB925 was about, and the feedback form informed sources is his positive impression of our program and effort. We are confident that Dr. Martinez will help to encourage school principals and teachers to take advantage of our valuable resources.

OTB925 is dedicated to getting the word out about the amazing STEM programs available to Contra Costa County students and we feel especially obligated to include the groups joining us from further away, LBL K-12 STEM and The Watershed Project.

The timing is still really important to reach out to teachers, especially our K-8th underserved groups. Teachers struggle right now knowing what materials to bring to their students and would so much appreciate the amazing resources and support we have to offer them. We will work in the next two months on steps needed to help clear the way for the next outreach event.  

With gratitude,

Tascha Barnes