Virtual TeenNat 2020 Project Gallery

As the spread of COVID-19 continued to grow and Pepperwood  remained closed to the public, our education team made the hard decision to transition our summer teen program, TeenNat, to a virtual program for 2020. Virtual TeenNat looked a bit different than a typical year, but the main tenets of TeenNat remain the same: connection to the natural world, connection to science, and connection to each other. These teens explored nature close to home in their backyards, neighborhoods, and local parks.

Virtual TeenNat culminated with student-driven projects including creative short films, nature journals, storybooks, photography, and poetry, as well as trash clean-ups and research projects on plants, animals, and ecosystems they chose to study.

We invite you to explore this diverse gallery of projects the teens completed, and to hear about their work in their own words!

  • Backyard Birds Video Documentary – Zander Boeger, 14

    The reason I created this project was simply because I wanted to figure out how many different species of birds lived in my backyard. I want the people who listen to my project to become motivated to go outside and learn more about the world around them. My process started with me sitting outside looking […]

    Learn more
  • Aquatic Organism Study – Xochilt Campos,15

    Why did I do this? I have an interest in water creatures, I wanted to see the diversity in bodies of water near me, and I wanted to see what I could do with my camera. What did I achieve with this project? Teaching people about biodiversity in different bodies of water, I got to […]

    Learn more
  • Creek Trail Trash Clean-Up & Analysis – Vincent Huynh, 16

    The reason I chose to do this project is because when I go on runs in the evening, I usually run on this creek and I have noticed that there is an abundance of trash everywhere. This motivated me to clean up this creek because when I am running, I do not want to trip […]

    Learn more
  • Flora & Fauna of Fountaingrove – Sonia Lakshmanan, 15

    I created this project because I want to show my fellow Teenatters how something polluted on the outside can still have beauty within. At first glance, my neighborhood may look like an overgrown wasteland littered with trash from construction. In fact, after many glances it still looked like that. I have lived here for nine […]

    Learn more
  • The Importance of Parks & Impacts Climate Change – Sam Houser, 17

    When brainstorming the topic of this project, I knew I wanted to focus on a subject that I already had an emotional connection to. It was clear that some sort of ecological or environmental knowledge needed to be displayed or discussed, so I thought an apt topic would be a park. My mind went to […]

    Learn more
  • Neighborhood Trash Clean-Up & Analysis – Sam Sun, 13

    My project was to collect data from the garbage I find in my community. I was motivated to do this project because every time I take a walk outside, I would always encounter garbage. I wanted to live in a cleaner and healthier community, so I decided to base my project off of garbage’s impact […]

    Learn more
  • Importance of Native Species – Anonymous, 13

    I chose this project because I wanted to understand the importance of native species and their effect on the ecosystem. From hearing about my project, I want people to understand the importance of Native species and how essential they are to the ecosystem. It was very challenging making a virtual presentation because I had never […]

    Learn more
  • A Celebration of Sonoma County Regional Parks – Leslie Huerta, 15

    I knew that this project had to be meaningful to me in some way to be as motivated as possible when working on it. In the end, I decided that my project would be a quick video showing a brief history of Sonoma County Regional Parks and how those parks help life flourish. My family […]

    Learn more
  • Urban Deer Study – Jake Gonzalez, 15

    My project idea is to take pictures of multiple deer that frequent my area to learn why they might visit and what type of deer they are. The deer frequent almost every night in my neighborhood block so I plan to search the surrounding area to find multiple deer and count the numbers. They usually […]

    Learn more
  • Pollinators Documentary Video – Gemma Ahern, 14

    I chose to make a video about pollinators in our area. I was passionate about this topic as pollinators other than honey bees are often overlooked, often because many native bees are really small and people don’t stop to look at them. I chose to do a video, as I feel its more engaging than […]

    Learn more
  • Bee Conservation Through Photography – Faline Howard, 16

    My project focused on how photography connects to the conservation of the environment, specifically bees. When I was beginning middle school, my Girl Scout troop won a contest of developing and maintaining a bee garden. After the fires in 2017, my troop used our bee garden, along with our efforts to replant at a local […]

    Learn more
  • Sonoma County Ecology Picture Book – Emily Richter, 15

    For my project, I decided to create an elementary-level picture book/field guide highlighting some of the ecosystems and organisms of Sonoma County. When I was younger, I was always interested in natural and physical science. However, the only science books they had at our library besides books about animals were about anatomy and physiology, which […]

    Learn more
  • My Connection with Nature & Birds – Cash Henselyn, 13

    Since a young age, I have always been connected to birds. Every year my dad and I would go to the open house at the Bird Rescue Center, where we would get to be introduced to some of their resident birds like Poe, the Raven, and Wowl, a Great Horned Owl. Knowing I had to […]

    Learn more
  • Neighborhood Creek Biodiversity – Cameron Carpenter, 17

    I created my project because I recently moved from the house I had lived at for nearly all of my life and I wanted to do something that would help remember the creek that was near my house. So this project was a way to capture the creek and the plants and animals that lived […]

    Learn more
  • Ochre Sea Star Research & Storybook – Dafne Cruz Rodriguez, 16

    I was inspired to do a research/storytelling about sea stars because I had gone to the beach during the weekend with my family and now sea stars remind me of how relaxed I was because with the pandemic I was very stressed out about school, college applications, and much more. In a way, my project […]

    Learn more
  • Trash Clean-Up at Local Park – Alejandro Cortez, 13

    The most sad part about visiting these places is that our local pioneer park had by far the most trash compared to other places visited. This is a place that is made for children to visit but yet the amount of trash that I found shows that it could encourage a kid to think that […]

    Learn more
  • Park Habitat Clean-Up & Analysis – Bruno McDarrah, 16; Drake Newell, 16; Sam Cramer 16

    We created this project because we wanted to look at and document the amount of trash in our local ecosystem. We also wanted to see the impact that the trash had on the plants and animals in that same area. The main thing I want people to get out of our project is a better […]

    Learn more
  • Nature Journal Project – Anika McMillian, 14

    I decided to make a nature journal because I enjoy spending time outside and my curiosity often drives me crazy if I can’t identify a bird or animal I saw. I became more convinced when I dug up the journal from middle school that had already been intended to be a nature journal kind of […]

    Learn more
  • Fern Ecology Research – Aditya Arora, 16

    My interest in plant biology gave me a topic for my project, and I decided to create a comparative project discussing two species of ferns. I felt like ferns were a plant class that I did not have much experience with, and I wanted to demonstrate my findings as well as having the opportunity to […]

    Learn more
  • Microplastics and Human Health – Aarav Dubey, 17

    Growing up in India, I saw heaps of plastic waste all around when I went outside. Seeing dogs, cows and other animals consume this plastic, and learning about how plastic persists within our environment for a long time opened my eyes to how big an issue this truly is. In this review paper, I will […]

    Learn more