November 28, 2023 is

This is the time you will have the opportunity to ensure that students from far and near have an unforgettable virtual experience of Calaveras Big Trees by supporting the Calaveras Big Trees PORTS Program (PARKS ONLINE RESOURCES FOR TEACHERS AND STUDENTS).

Calaveras Big Trees State Park PORTS Program

“PORTS uses the power of videoconferencing to support K-12 educators in designing deep and meaningful learning experiences in virtual and in-person classrooms.” (Lillie Oravetz)

How It’s Done at Big Trees

Thanks to funding from Calaveras Big Trees Association, Lillie Oravetz was hired in the fall of 2021 as a permanent intermittent state park interpreter to both run the PORTS program during the school year and do summer in-person programs for the park.

Our goal is to raise $40,000 for the PORTS Program to continue. #GivingTuesday is a day dedicated to generosity and giving. It’s a day to acknowledge the power of giving and simple acts of kindness.

Anyone, anywhere can make a difference.

A huge majority of virtual visits were through the On-Demand programming in which teachers sign up their classes for 45-minute programs.  Programs were offered three times a day, three days a week- Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Any teacher of any age group could sign up.  There were teachers from Calaveras County to Ontario, Canada and from kindergarten through 12th grade.

The Programs:

Giant Sequoia Ecology

In this program, students will be introduced to the wonders of the biggest tree in the world, the giant sequoia! We will walk around a giant sequoia grove and discuss the trees’ characteristics, what they need, and how humans have impacted them.

Winter Superpowers

Giant sequoias need to survive the bitter winters at Calaveras Big Trees, and they aren’t alone! Students will be introduced to giant sequoias and other living things that call this place home as well as their adaptations to handle the winter. This program mainly takes place inside our Visitor Center Museum.

Fire Ecology

California has had many intense wildfires lately but not all fire is the same. As we walk around a giant sequoia grove, students will be introduced to the complexity of fire, how we have influenced it, and how important it is for the giant sequoia. This program is geared toward older students and can be taken with the Giant Sequoia Ecology program but does not need to be.

See Lillie in action by clicking here


Who has benefited from PORTS?


Measuring Success in Another Way

Statistics are one thing, but kind words are another.

“Thank you, Ranger Lillie. The kids loved it. Not one has been to a forest, so, this was all new to them. Blessings.” – Nancy Prado, 3rd grade

“Hi Lillie,
You are really good at talking to the littles. Many presenters are not. Thank
you for the wonderful information and visuals. My students and I LOVED
this! with admiration and respect” – Felicia Suminiski, Kindergarten

“Hi Lillie, My class really enjoyed today’s virtual field trip. Thank you so much!” – Melissa Abousamra, 1st grade


Thank you for making a difference!  We are grateful for your donation or any other way you choose to support Calaveras Big Trees State Park.


If giving of your time is a better option for you, please contact Amber Sprock at 209-795-7980 for information about becoming a Docent at Calaveras Big Trees.  New volunteers are always welcome.