Louis Armin-Hoiland
Arcata High School
Arcata, California

Jolly Giant Creek is a small waterway running along the western boundary of Arcata High School, where Louis Armin-Hoiland teaches biology. Concerned about environmental degradation, Mr. Armin-Hoiland initiated a project in 1987 with several of his classes to restore a small section of the creek. Fourteen years later, the project is still going strong, and it has expanded to include multiple restoration programs within the watersheds of Jolly Giant and Janes Creeks. Since its beginnings, Mr. Armin-Hoiland developed coalitions and sought resources throughout the private and public sectors to meet goals and objectives. Participants in the Jolly Giant Creek Restoration Project include high school students, university professors, county officials, state agency representatives, regional conservation groups, and local businesses. These partnerships enabled the project to move well beyond its original boundaries.

Under Mr. Armin-Hoiland’s direction, high school students are empowered to improve their local environment and to become advocates for change. The restoration project emphasizes improving water quality, fish habitat, riparian vegetation, and appropriate land use. Guided by these principals, Mr. Armin-Hoiland, his students, and the community have returned the watershed to a flourishing ecosystem for native fish, birds, and other organisms.

Through Louis Armin-Hoiland’s vision and leadership, the Jolly Giant Creek Restoration Project is an ongoing community success that captures the imagination and marshals the energies of the high school and the rest of the city. The project’s success is reflected in the pride and sense of accomplishment that people in Arcata feel when referring to Jolly Giant Creek.

— Bob Wallace, Arcata High School, Arcata, California