I’m a little late on this — like, three weeks late — but this article about a San Francisco high school curriculum that immerses urban kids into the surrounding environment is heartening. Well, my first reaction is frustration and “why do we need a special program to introduce kids to nature?” but recognizing the state of the union at this point in time, this is way better than the status quo nothing.

The program, sponsored by the Goldman Environmental Prize, “seeks to educate kids about both environmental science and the history of environmental activism.” Which is cool. Nothing like evoking past activism to get kids — or people of any age, really — fired up about their potential.

A school in San Francisco is taking the program a step farther, involving other entities to create an even wider and more comprehensive teaching tool. Check it out:

The students listened to [a habitat restoration expert] before going out into the Presidio [neighborhood] to collect air-pollution monitoring devices they had set out the week before. Later in the day, they would analyze the data from the devices — basically cardboard boxes that capture particulates on a sticky matrix — to arrive at estimates of general air-pollution loads.

Imagine: sit down and chat with the experts, go out and do in-the-field work, and make it relevant to your own life and neighborhood.

Why isn’t this happening in every school across the country?