27 Jun Planting the seed of Perpetual Change
You would think that it was only a dream of the witnessing a coyote chasing a roadrunner running through the vast lands and hills of the Southwest, but the Sky Islands of Arizona in Coronado National Memorial can take you back to those cartoons as you enjoy the warm breeze hiking the tall dry grasses.It is nothing less than fantastic to walk out of your house and realize every morning, as the sun peeks through the hills in Mexico, to know that your office is a national park. It is quite the privilege, even as a person of color, to know that within a few miles radius, you can see mountain lions, javelinas, Mexican jays, coatimundi. All in your backyard. It is even more impactful when you see the faces of visitors amazed by the diversity the desert can sustain, when the natural resources are protected. This week I had the opportunity to mold the minds of children on the history of the Coronado expedition between 1540-1542 and the frailty of the environment playing Web of Life and making little detectives with Critter Scene Investigation: Coronado (CSI:Coronado). For Web of Life, each participant gets assigned an animal or plant found within the park boundaries such as bats, deer, or agave. Ideally one would begin by giving a the string to an autotroph, the lowest members of the food system and ask the participants who and how are other members connected to that plant and start creating connections between each other until you build an intricate web. Finally you select a random member to “eject” from the environment and see the connections fall apart due to the lack of one member of the web. This demonstrates to the kids how all members, even if not directly connected, are important to each other within the environment. These children are now equipped to understand basic changes around their environment and ability to preserve the limited and scarce resources of our national parks.