The Seven Hills School was named recipient of the Yosemite National Park Volunteer 2013 Youth Group Award.

The school received the award because a group of Seven Hills Middle School students, led by science teacher Matt Shargel, stay at Yosemite National Park one week during the summer and work with field biologists to understand the "fragile amphibian populations of the Yosemite High Country," according to a news release.

Shargel, along with other teachers and parents, has been doing this trip for the last five summers. It's a way to take biology and wildlife conservations lessons to a new level, he said in the release.

Before the trip, students are given scientific background, data-collection training, and outdoor skill training during the school year, according to the release. Students take these skills into the backcountry, camping in tents and hiking for miles on and off trail, and become biologist apprentices for a week.

"The terrain is challenging and often the physical expectations of heavy backpacks and long miles can be difficult on our students," said Shargel in the release. "The educational rewards however are well worth the effort. It truly is life-changing for these students to experience such a fragile ecosystem, and to be a working link in the efforts to be a part of the solution. Hard work, real science, devoted teachers and eager students are surely a recipe for something special."

The group was honored last week at a Yosemite Volunteer Awards Ceremony in the national park. The award is given to a youth group that donates talent, time and skills to preserve and protect the park.

Shargel and his team of students were selected out of 9,500 park volunteers.

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    Grace Cooperative Preschool will host a free parent workshop, featuring speaker Meg Zweiback, from 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 7, at 2100 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek.

    Zweiback is pediatric nurse practitioner, family counselor and coach whose work appears regularly in the Parents' Press. She will speak about ways to help children build resilience.

    The event is sponsored by the Diablo Area Council, an organization composed of local cooperative preschools, developed to support parent participation education. For questions, call 510-703-1965.

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    The Mt. Diablo Unified School District wants to make sure its students are college bound, and is holding its first college fair.

    The fair, which district officials hope becomes an annual event, will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday Oct. 30 at Ygnacio Valley High School, 755 Oak Grove Road in Concord.

    Students will be able to meet representatives from colleges and universities across the country as well as hear from local educational resources. The fair is ideal for juniors and seniors, according to a flyer for the event. It's open to students form College Park, Concord, Mt. Diablo, Northgate, Olympic, Ygnacio Valley, Nueva Vista/Summit, Prospect, Crossroads High School, Gateway and Diablo Community Day School High Schools. Students must show their ID from a MDUSD school in order to attend fair.

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    Pleasant Hill Middle School will host a forum discussing middle school topics for parents and students in grades 4-8, at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 9, at the school, One Santa Barbara Road, Pleasant Hill.

    The forum is organized by the Pleasant Hill Education Commission in partnership with Pleasant Hill Education Initiative. For information or to R.S.V.P., email mnelis@ci-pleasant-hill.ca.us.

    To submit an item for School Notes contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her at Twitter.com/enardi10.