A little about TuCARE
TuCARE, Tuolumne County Alliance for Resources & Environment, was created in 1989. Its purpose is to inform and educate the public on wise use of natural resources. There is reasoning behind this: An educated public makes better and well informed decisions regarding the use and management of our natural resources. TuCARE has a board of directors (20) representing all walks of life and experiences. The common element of all of our board members is their passion about the care and management of natural resources. TuCARE is a 501(c)3 non-profit.
TuCARE has spent over 20 years educating the public. Over the course of these years, we have developed two distinct avenues of education. One works with the adult segment of the public, including our policy makers and legislators. The other education program works with children and young adults, from pre-kindergarten through college.
Our adult education program consists of field tours to natural resource sites such as the Stanislaus National Forest, an active logging site on private forested land, tours of local natural resource industry sites such as Blue Mountain Minerals, our local biomass plant Pacific Ultra Power, and the Chinese Camp Sawmill. We also work with water resources and provide tour opportunities to Tri-Dam operations, Northern California Power Agency and Hetch Hetchy. We try to provide a balanced view of the resources and their usage within our counties and our neighboring counties. We also connect the experts in the fields with the public, taking our tours to the source and giving the public a first-hand, up-close-and-personal experience with resources and the folks who manage them. We also connect interest groups with the public so those who enjoy the benefits of the resource management can have an opportunity to express to others their desire for good management practices. For many tour participants, especially for policy makers and legislators who may not be familiar with Tuolumne County, this is a very eye-opening experience; one we know helps them to make better decisions regarding the future of Tuolumne County.
Along with field tours, we also give presentations, hold Natural Resource Summits with our legislators, attend local, state and federal meetings which affect Natural Resources in Tuolumne County, give testimony before legislators, write editorials, give comments on proposed actions within Tuolumne County which will affect the management and use of our Natural Resources, hold information booths at fairs, the lumber jubilee, and other public forums. We also produce a quarterly newsletter that also educates and informs.
Our outreach efforts to youth are very similar to the adults, except we work with schools to help students gain access to first-hand experience with natural resources. We have found, as with adults, children also have a huge disconnect between the products they use everyday, and the resource from which it was produced. We try to help them make the connections between their lives and the natural resources that provide so many benefits for them.
We expanded our youth program, called Tours for Kids, to include not only the tours we take with adults, but also trips to livestock and horse ranches, nature walks that include plant and insect identification, days on the farm for pre-schoolers, career days where we focus on careers in Natural Resources, gold panning and water resources education. We also do classroom presentations on the life cycle of trees with a program called Talk About Trees, and we demonstrate the complexity of the mining industry with a fun activity called “cookie mining.” All of our Tours For Kids and the related presentations are correlated with content standards for grade level appropriateness. We actually give teachers lesson plans which can be used before, during and after the fieldtrips and presentations, that were prepared by certificated teachers and meet the educational expectations of schools districts.
All of our programs and the support of our organization come from donations, memberships and grants.