Port of Oakland welcomes back students to its waterfront park
Visit marks first student field trip to Middle Harbor Shoreline Park since pandemic
Oakland, Calif. – November 4, 2022: The Port of Oakland hosted young students back to its Middle Harbor Shoreline Park for an onsite educational field trip with a public school. It was the first time in nearly three years that the Port welcomed students for their on-site education program.
During their visit, 4th graders from Oakland’s Piedmont Elementary School learned about the Port and the environment. The program's theme was about how Middle Harbor provides a safe space for both endangered birds and aquatic species. Some of the key concepts included:
• The San Francisco Bay and Oakland Estuary provide resources for wildlife habitats and people’s livelihoods;
• Harbors and the San Francisco Bay provide a safe place for ships and boats to dock;
• We are connected to the world through what we eat, wear and buy, which supports tens of thousands of jobs in the region;
• Birds are drawn to the Oakland Estuary to find a safe winter refuge where they can eat and fuel up for their southern migration (part of the Pacific Flyway); and
• People can serve as responsible stewards of these resources for wildlife and future generations.
The activities included a game where students learned about the supply chain. They bird watched and cleaned up the shoreline to gather data about the debris they found.
The educational outreach and programming were conducted by Stepping Out Stepping In (SOSI), a West Oakland organization that connects students with nature. Founder and naturalist Tara Reinertson says getting children outdoors is more important than ever for their minds and bodies. The program provides a real-life sensory experience with nature.
“We want them to learn that they are connected to the San Francisco Bay, not only by world trade and what they buy and eat and wear, but also that we’re connected because we’re all migratory—human beings, animals, wildlife--we are all visitors here,” said Reinertson.
The Port of Oakland’s Social Responsibility Division (SRD) helps sponsor the program and says it’s rewarding to have students return to the natural environment of the park.
“We teach them about the Port and its role in the maritime industry--goods movement, imports and exports, and the supply chain,” said SRD Director Amy Tharpe. “We also encourage them to become environmental stewards of the land and bay--we teach them about the shoreline birds and keeping the bay, storm drains and their community clean,” she said.
“Most of these children do not know about the Port, what we do and how it impacts their everyday lives,” said SRD representative Ramona Dixon. “These students take what they learn from us and help teach their families. It’s an educational experience they long remember.”
Many students who participate in this program return to Middle Harbor Shoreline Park for family picnics. They have an opportunity to be good stewards of the environment.
This program is one way the Port of Oakland gives back to its neighbors and local schools throughout the Oakland Unified School District. Regular on-site events at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park continue in the Spring.
About the Port of Oakland
The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland Seaport, Oakland International Airport, and nearly 20 miles of waterfront including Jack London Square. The Port's 5-year strategic plan - Growth with Care - pairs business expansion with community benefits, envisioning more jobs and economic stimulus as the Port grows. Together with its business partners, the Port supports more than 84,000 jobs. Connect with the Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airportthrough Facebook, or with the Port on Twitter, YouTube, and at www.portofoakland.com.