Teaching at Slide: Transforming Students, Transforming the Teachers

Last May, Edible Marin and Wine Country  published an article about Slide Ranch's commitment to training the next generation of environmental educators.  In it, author Naomi Starkman wrote about Angela Leyba and several other Slide interns. Leyba served as a U.S. Army Apache helicopter mechanic in Korea, Bosnia and Afghanistan. She attended culinary school when she left the army, but it was through an internship at Slide Ranch that she found a new direction. Now she's committed to helping other veterans become involved in sustainable farming and to open a farm to table restaurant.  

Leyba is one of many who have been transformed by their relationship with Slide Ranch, a 134 acre farm and environmental education center located on the Marin Coast. The Ranch and its staff touch the lives of more than 8,000 children, youth and adults every year, introducing ideas about healthy food, food production and the environment. Slide's goal, according to Executive Director Marika Bergsund, is to “build the next generation of environmental stewards through healthy food and environmental learning."

Slide's highly competitive Teacher-in-Residence Program is a keystone in that mission. Every year, seven environmental educators live and work at the ranch for a ten and a half month internship. Four more interns join them in the summer to support Slide's summer day camps. Residents plan and lead experiential learning programs with children, youth and families and support staff in running the farm.


2012 teacher-in-residence Ben Henriquez told Starkman that interns have a big impact:

It’s not abstract...Living in an urban environment, you don’t know where your food or water comes from. Seeing the natural world near theirs, later on, kids will realize that these problems are ours, too. Seeing kids starting to connect those dots, that even adults have a hard time doing, was the most rewarding part of experience.

The experience is as transformative for Slide Ranch's residents as it is for visitors. 2002 resident and Slide Ranch board member Corey Block said of her experience, "it was eye-opening in every way and put me on the path towards sustainable agriculture, with a focus on food justice, security and environmental issues." Slide alumni have gone on to work in environmental education and sustainability projects all over the Bay Area and across the country.

Want to help change the world?

Slide is currently accepting applications for Summer Teacher-in-Residence Internships. The 2-1/2 month Summer Teacher-in-Residence Internship (4 positions) runs from late May to mid-August.  Applications will be accepted until all positions are filled.  Learn more on Slide Ranch's Teacher in Residence Application page.