Tide pools, summer programs, and curriculum, oh my!

The past couple of weeks have been incredibly busy. Between helping out with programs with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SAMO) and working on my project with the César E. Chavez National Monument (CECNM), I’ve definitely had no down time. But, it has been pretty cool to use my experiences from the programs I’ve been shadowing to help my project with the CCNM. Last week I had the opportunity to accompany and shadow SAMO rangers to do a program with local kids from Los Angeles at Leo Carillo State Park and it was awesome! It was a beautiful overcast day at the beach with a low tide and the kids got to walk around the tide pools and find various critters. A lot of these kids had never done anything like this, so seeing them become exposed to this activity and become absolutely enthralled by it, was truly heartwarming.

Getting out into the tide pools!

Getting out into the tide pools!

Beautiful, overcast day at the beach!

Beautiful, overcast day at the beach!

                Although we had a few misshaps including kids spilling their lunches, skinning their knees, and my phone’s screen shattering when it fell face down on gravel, it was a great day! Exhausting, but great nevertheless. (I’m the worst at taking pictures, BTW)


Yesterday I also had the chance to help out at the Weingart East L.A. YMCA and talked to the kids about the impact of water on tree growth; they also learned a new & complicated word, dendrochronology (which is the scientific method of dating based on the analysis of patterns of tree rings). They were really intrigued and immediately started to count the rings on the trunk sample I brought with me and hypothesized it had been 47 years old when it got cut down, even though I’m pretty sure it was older. At the end, we finished our discussion by making tree cookie necklaces to take home as souvenirs. They absolutely loved it, even though they had to work diligently to sand them down first.

Using a "makeshift" table to work on

Using a “makeshift” table to work on

Sanding down the tree cookies

Sanding down the tree cookies

Ranger Tori singing songs with the kids at the end--she is good!

Ranger Tori singing songs with the kids at the end–she is good!

                   


  Anyway, betwixt all these experiences, I am still working towards creating curriculum for students to learn about the life and beliefs of César E. Chavez and activities to engage in when they visit the CECNM. All my experiences with the kids and being able to shadow fellow rangers has really been helpful in trying to come up with fun activities. Because let’s face it, I was never going to create fun things just sitting in a desk. But either way, my desk gets pretty crazy sometimes as I pour over state standards, highlight, and write lesson plans out on my computer.

The mayhem that my desk can become at times :/

The mayhem that my desk can become at times :/

So, I’m still working on this and am pretty excited to visit with the kids at the Y again next week, get more ideas, and visit the CECNM the week after (pretty stoked about this upcoming trip!). ¡Hásta pronto!

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