Founded in 2017, Menlo-Atherton Ecology Research Outdoors (MERO) is a free, after-school environmental education program for high school English Language Learners. This year-round program engages students in real, hands-on ecological research in an outdoor setting. Through regular field trips and long-term mentorship, MERO provides a fun and supportive community for underserved teens while helping them gain the academic, communication, and life skills needed to excel in high school and beyond.
We recruit 12 new students each year who participate in biweekly events from February through June.
Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve
Students participate in 6 field trips to this world-class research station and learning facility, where they learn to ask scientific questions, measure wildlife habitat, and document their work through photography and nature journaling.
Backpacking at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve
Students hit the East Bay trails for a one night backpacking trip. This is our student's favorite event!
Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
Students participate in a wildlife-viewing boat tour on Elkhorn Slough, where they observe sea otters, sea lions, and dozens of bird species in their natural habitat.
Rock climbing at
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Stanford University Research Labs
Students tour the Stanford University Campus and visit research labs where they learn about the latest advances in ecology and conservation.
Ahzha is a history teacher at Menlo-Atherton High School where she teaches World History, Latin American Studies, and Limited English Proficiency History. Before teaching at Menlo-Atherton, Ahzha worked in Chile as a translator for the Chilean Olympic rowing team. She holds a B.A. in International Studies and History from the University of Oregon and an M.A.T. from Lewis and Clark College. When she is not in the classroom or in the field with MERO, Ahzha enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and cooking.
Tyler is an ecologist, wildlife biologist, and science educator. He is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Biology at Stanford University, where he conducts research on human impacts to biodiversity. Tyler is passionate about science education at all levels and loves sharing his enthusiasm for the outdoors with his students. He holds a Ph.D. in Biology from Stanford University, a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Science from Oregon State University, and has studied wildlife in the United States, Chile, Mexico, Honduras, and Costa Rica.
Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve
Jasper Ridge acts as our non-profit fiscal agent, providing project and fiduciary oversight for the MERO program. About half of our field outings take place at this world-class research station. Jorge Ramos, Associate Director for Environmental Education, is our point person at the preserve and is a critical part of the MERO team.
Our volunteers and collaborators
We benefit from the support of many volunteers and collaborators, including the following individuals and groups:
Jorge Ramos, Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve
Rodolfo Dirzo, Stanford University
Kaye Storm , Office of Science Outreach, Stanford University
Stephen Ready, Menlo-Atherton High School
Cindy Wilber, Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve
And many additional staff members, administrators, docents, and volunteers at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve and Menlo-Atherton High School