25 Jul Giving Educational Programs at Zion National Park!
Being in education and outreach, a part of my internship has been giving educational programs at Zion National Park! I mainly have given three programs here – Emerald Explorers, Riverside, and Dino Discovery. In education, our programs are more geared towards a younger audience, but they are fun enough that they always grab the attention of adults as well!
For Emerald Explorers, we talk out the fur pelts of a beaver, a Grey Fox, and a Bob-cat. I usually like to talk about the theme of herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores, since we have one of each. Along with their pelts, we will bring replicas of their skulls, so I can show the differences in teeth depending on what the animals eat. My favorite to talk about is the beaver! Fun fact: the beaver has red teeth because there is iron in their teeth, the same mineral that makes the rocks red in Zion! Also, the beavers in Zion have adapted to the flash floods that happen in the Virgin River, so instead of making dams, they make burrows in the river bank!
Our Riverside drop-in happens on our Riverside Walk trail, we talk about the springs that come out of the rocks. When it rains or snows on our canyon peaks, the water travels down through the water permeable sandstone rock. It takes thousands of years for it to reach the next layer of rock, called Kayenta. This layer of rock is not water permeable – it forces the water out of the rock, creating springs and allowing for our hanging gardens! This program is always fun and is also a form of PSAR (preventative search and rescue) because the Riverside Walk trail leads into our famous hike – The Narrows. Since The Narrows is quite literally a hike through a river, we must do PSAR for it, so visitors know what to expect and are aware of potential flash floods.
Dino Discovery is given everyday at our Nature Center. It is a fun program for children that teaches about the two dinosaurs whose tracks have been identified in Zion, the Megapnosaurus and the Dilophosaurus. We even make Dino tracks from molds that the kids can take home!
All of these programs are made for Jr Rangers, it has been great to interact with kids who are so enthusiastic about learning, it really makes my day! I really have been so lucky to be here at Zion to do this amazing work.