Winter 2016 California Project WET Gazette
Volume XXl, Issue I
AMERICA’S BEST IDEA
“The intelligent American will one day point on the map to this remarkable district with the conscious pride that it has not its parallel on the face of the globe.” – Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden, Geological Survey of 1871
When one considers the phrase ‘America’s best idea,’ one probably does not associate it with the ever present gridlock that has defined Washington D.C. politics in the past decade or the rhetoric we’ll be hearing from the presidential contenders until next November. However, in addition to being an election year, 2016 is also the centennial of the creation our National Park Service – the organization created to manage what has been dubbed ‘America’s best idea.’ In this election year, it is interesting to note the National Park concept has been a bi-partisan effort – a Republican President designated the first national park, while the formation of the service to manage it was signed into law by a Democratic President. Two thousand sixteen is also a Leap Year, which has one wondering who was among the founders were the Machiavellian geniuses involved in lining up years with an extra day with the Presidential election cycle. But the Leap Year also has a silver lining in this year of celebrating our National Parks, as it provides an extra day of encouragement to escape the 24-7 news cycle and explore the wonders of one of our ‘best ideas!’
One could argue it all began with John Colter. In 1808, this former member of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery returned from a winter trek deep into the mountainous area of what is now northwestern Wyoming describing a land of boiling mud, exploding waters and a pervasive, sulfurous stench that led disbelieving listeners to deride this fanciful place as ‘Colter’s Hell.’ Thirty years later, the famed mountain man Jim Bridger described a land where waterfalls spouted up, a river of searing hot water, trees petrified as stone, a mountain of glass and a place where fish could swim across the Continental Divide – For listeners of the time, the stories seemed almost as incredulous as a variety claims uttered in an attempt to stand out in an election cycle. We know now based on the ‘fact checking’ from a series of scientific surveys into the area that what Colter, Bridger and others were describing were the mud pots, boiling springs, geysers, obsidian deposits and petrified redwood trees and Two Ocean Creek – a creek where fish can swim across the Continental Divide.
It was these marvels of the geoscience world that captured the imagination of the nation and led to President Ulysses S. Grant designating Yellowstone as the first federal park in 1872. Students and teachers can see this on full display in the clue cards for the Project WET activity ‘Discover the Waters of Our National Parks’ (p: 493) – Yellowstone, Crater Lake, Rocky Mountain, Rock Creek, Point Reyes and the ‘Big Bend’ of the Rio Grande, the names of many of our parks are derived from the very wonders of geoscience that motivated people to set these areas aside for future generations. The Project WET activity was designed to engage student interest in National Parks by highlighting the unique role of water in shaping the experience and human history of the parks; yet, there is so much more in these pictures and the connecting clues for teachers and students to latch on to for learning. The images reveal a variety of landforms, waterbodies, water in different states of matter and evidence of geoscience processes that have shaped the landscape, each providing an example to observe embedded a ‘real world’ landscape.
‘Discover the Waters of Our National Parks’ includes images and clues of park areas that leads one to wonder what kind of weather and climate is found in the park – and what time of year would be the best for a visit? What kinds of plants and animals live there? A question that those engaged in the activity could take a stab at answering by looking closely and describing the habitats and ecosystems one can observe – and sleuthing out the general climate. And let’s not forget the interplay of geography, natural resources and socio-political factors that led to the evolution of National Parks as shrines of human history as well as living laboratories of natural science processes. Archaeology in National Parks such as Mesa Verde, Great Smokey Mountains, Gettysburg and Cuyahoga provide engaging examples of professionals utilizing integrated learning across all core subject areas, including the STEM fields to better understand the history of our country and the environmental conditions that influenced these points in time.
Today, the National Park system includes sites in every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands – 409 in total that include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails and the White House. You and your students can begin a learning exploration of the National Parks with the less daunting ten sites included in the ‘Discover the Waters of Our National Parks’ and you’ll find an additional 18 cards on California National Park sites on the Water Education Foundation website.
In addition, you’ll find a number of opportunities to extend the learning begun in this activity in the ‘Websites of Interest,’ ‘Grants and Student Opportunities’ and ‘Events’ sections of this Gazette, including distance learning opportunities, free park entry days occurring this Winter – and don’t forget to check out the Every Kid in a Park program if you are a parent or teacher of a 4th grader! Please also check out the list of upcoming Project WET Workshops. Hope we all can find a way to set aside that extra day in this Leap Year to ‘disconnect’ and wander a remote trail or remind ourselves of the pleasure of learning in a unique location – Happy New Year!
WEBSITES OF INTEREST
FOURTH GRADE TEACHERS! Our country is full of dazzling landscapes where you can play and learn. President Barack Obama created Every Kid in a Park so fourth graders and their families could discover our wildlife, resources, and history for free. As a fourth-grade educator, you can download an activity and print paper passes for each of your students. Learn how to get passes for your students by visiting this website:
Take your students on a “virtual field trip” where they can talk with a ranger or go behind the scenes at a park… or check out a traveling trunk or other media for loan! Find information about Field Trips and Field Schools. You’ll also find classroom materials including primary sources, science labs and other in-class activities and a range of other NPS educational materials.
National Park Service rangers and volunteers conduct free curriculum-based field trips during the school year. All programs are designed to give elementary and high school students an opportunity to hike through the mountains and participate in hands-on learning activities.
This 90-minute classroom program uses award-winning curriculum to introduce youth to the NPS’s guiding mission of both conservation and public enjoyment. Working in small groups, students use their reading, note taking, and research skills to identify a mystery park. They then uncover the park’s unique features by examining tactile objects that represent the site. Groups practice their public speaking skills by creating a group presentation for their class to share what they discovered about their particular park. Students gain a greater awareness, understanding, and appreciation of these national treasures!
Feeling adventurous? Do you like to find things that are lost? Figure out stories from clues? Then dig into Archeology for Kids. How about a little time travel? Take a fabulous trip through more than 3,000 years in The Great American Landmarks Adventure. You’ll start with a 1,500-year-old cave painting and end up on the moon in 1969. From the first shots of the American Revolution through the Cold War of the late 1950s, learn about some of our nation’s heroes in American Defenders of Land, Sea & Sky. Explore, learn, and have fun!
The Water Resources Division exists to ensure that current and future generations can experience healthy aquatic ecosystems in the National Park System. WRD provides its services directly to parks through a broad range of programs in the areas of fisheries, natural resource condition assessments, information management, hydrology, planning, ocean & coastal resources, wetlands, water quality, and water rights.
Today’s rapid climate change challenges national parks in ways we’ve never seen before. Glaciers are retreating at an unprecedented rate, increasingly destructive storms threaten cultural resources and park facilities, habitat is disrupted—the list goes on. Discover how climate change is affecting our nation’s treasures, what the National Park Service is doing about it, and how you can help.
The USA National Phenology Network serves science and society by promoting broad understanding of plant and animal phenology and its relationship with environmental change. The Network encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to observe and record phenology as a way to discover and explore the nature and pace of our dynamic world. Help advance the field by working with a program in California.
This program will give students a chance to learn about careers in the National Park Service. Park rangers will answer questions on what it is like to work for the National Park Service and will discuss conservation based job and internship opportunities available to ages 15 and up through national parks and with partners such as the Student Conservation Association and Youth Conservation Corps. All programs will be presented in February and March and we will begin taking reservations the first Monday of January for the upcoming season.
The National Park Service is looking for students and professionals in the geosciences and other natural resource fields who want to use their natural resource science expertise to help the NPS better understand and manage its natural resources. The Geoscientists-in-the-Parks (GIP) program works with partners to match college students and recent graduates age 18 – 35 years old with short-term, paid, internships with the National Park Service. GIP positions can last from 3 months to one-year.
This research and resource management journal of the U.S. National Park Service reports the implications of recent and ongoing natural and social science and related cultural research for park planning, management, and policy. Articles translate scientific findings into usable knowledge for park planning and the development of sound management practices for natural resources and visitor enjoyment.
Stories are the big picture…or a snapshot in time. They provide the basics – who, what, where, when, why, and how – and may offer context and analysis. Stories can evolve, expand, and change over time as more is learned through new technology or new scholarship. Stories include the personal – memories of immigrants who passed through Ellis Island. They can be thousands of years old – the petroglyphs of the Rio Grande Valley – and as fresh and raw as the events of 9/11.
Sometimes all you need to know is that there was a Homestead Act of 1862. Sometimes, you want to understand the life of a homesteader, someone like Adeline Hornbek. A single mother of four, Hornbek made her own way for her family and became the owner of a prosperous ranch in Colorado’s Florissant Valley. People make history. Find them.
Prehistoric and historic objects and places help us understand the world and our place in it. They connect us to the past, but they can also connect us to the present and each other. The National Park Service cares for some of the largest and most diverse natural and cultural history collections in the world. It also keeps records and lists of our most treasured historic places. Take a look at what is preserved for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of all.
Ready to head out or want to learn more about any one of America’s national parks? Select a park from the drop-down menu or choose a state from the map on this website to get your adventure started! Browse our monthly Getaway series for inspiration or explore other ways to enhance your national park experience. Not sure where to start? You’ll find travel tips to experience the best that the national parks can offer. There’s an adventure out there for everyone – plan yours soon!
The National Park Foundation, in partnership with the National Park Service, enriches America’s national parks and programs through private support, safeguarding our heritage and inspiring generations of national park enthusiasts. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation is founded on a legacy that began more than a century ago, when private citizens from all walks of life took action to establish and protect our national parks. Today, the National Park Foundation carries on that tradition as the only national charitable nonprofit whose sole mission is to directly support the National Park Service.
Citizen science, volunteer monitoring, participatory action research… this site supports organizers of all initiatives where public participants are involved in scientific research (PPSR). You can find information on current projects throughout the country. The site is administered by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and includes a great, kid-friendly overview of California quail, California condor and many other species.
A great resource for connecting with USGS California research and partner projects in all areas of work under the US Geological Survey umbrella from wildlife and climate change studies to earthquake and water research. Check-out the Drought Watch and Flood Watch pages for up to date information on our water conditions.
Lots of free materials for California educators, including ‘The California Water Works’ that has a colorful comic book character, Professor Goodwater, leading students through the water cycle, showing them how water is delivered through California’s built and natural water systems to the end users. Guidelines for water conservation are provided as well.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES
The California Project WET program and our sponsors are eager to assist in supporting local professional development and water education outreach efforts. Our volunteer network of workshop Facilitators have been hard at work designing and organizing workshops for the upcoming season!
The California Environmental Education Foundation (CEEF), in partnership with Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), invites educators who teach students in grades 4-12 at schools in Los Angeles County, to participate in an engaging three-Saturday Teacher Institute utilizing investigation-focused pedagogy to maximize collaborative learning in environmental education and place-based stewardship. Applications are available at www.caeefoundation.org and must be submitted by January 25, 2016. For questions, please contact Darryl Ramos-Young, Institute Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-660-6216.
The National Park Service offers teacher professional development workshops in partnership with local universities, tribal members, museums, non-profit organizations, and federal, state and local government agencies. Recent professional development workshops have focused on climate change, phenology, invasive species, mountain lion research, and ways to engage students on a self-guided field trip to the Santa Monica Mountains.
The national Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program offers classroom teachers a stipend to work 6-8 weeks in a national park, develop curriculum-based materials, and share their park experience with their students. For the past four years, Teacher Rangers at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area have developed school lesson plans, taken their students on field trips, staffed visitor centers, presented outreach programs with state parks and presented public programs.
MIDDLE and HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS! Are you looking for models that allow your students to manipulate variables and study the outcomes based on real-life scenarios? The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has developed just such a model and are looking for opportunities to work with you at an in-service day or workshop time that works best for you. If you would like to schedule or attend a training for using SWMM in your curricula, please contact Hunter Merritt or Rachael Orellana at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District.
The EEI Curriculum is 85 K-12 grade units that teaches standards through an environmental lens, including understanding resources, conservation, where our food, energy, and water come from, and complicated decision-making processes related to climate change, green chemistry and use of our public lands. California examples make learning relevant and stimulate student involvement with the world around them. Click here to see a list of correlating Project WET activities to use with individual EEI units!
These one-week institutes bring together natural resource specialists and K-12 teachers for one week, working side by side to gain a deeper understanding of the intricate interrelationship of forest ecosystems and human use of natural resources. You’ll walk away with a treasure trove of knowledge and environmental science curriculum- including Project Learning Tree and Project WILD! This FREE training includes all housing, meals and materials you will receive throughout the week.
The California Regional Environmental Education Community (CREEC), administered by the California Department of Education, is an on-line hub offering a searchable database of for a variety of resources, including professional development, field trip and grant opportunities from over 500 informal education providers across the state. Click on your region, then search the events calendar to find a wonderful array of environment based professional development opportunities!
INVITATION TO SUBMIT PUBLIC COMMENT ON THE DRAFT 2016 SCIENCE FRAMEWORK FOR CALIFORNIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS, KINDERGARTEN THROUGH GRADE TWELVE
The California Department of Education (CDE) is pleased to announce that the first draft of the 2016 Science Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (Science Framework) is available for its first 60-day period of review and comment. The Framework will provide guidance for implementing the Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten through Grade Twelve.
The public has until January 19, 2016, to review the Science Framework online and provide comments at email@example.com. Please contact Bryan D. Boyd, Education Programs Consultant, Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division if you have questions regarding the public comment review period or the Science Framework revision process.
January 19, 2016 - National Parks Free Entrance Day
Take the opportunity of the National Parks Free Entrance Day to explore our history of cultural clashes and efforts to achieve equal civil rights for all people in park areas such as César E. Chávez, Alcatraz, Port Chicago or Lava Beds to celebrate the spirit of this Martin Luther King birthday or take free the opportunity to enjoy any of our California National Park areas.
January 27-31, 2016 - Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway
Birders and nature enthusiasts of all ages are invited to attend the 17th Annual Snow Goose Festival, one of the premier birding events in California. This action-packed 5-day event celebrates the millions of waterfowl migrating along the Pacific Flyway that call the Northern Sacramento Valley their home during the winter months.
February 6, 2016 - Annual CMSESMC STEM Conference
The Annual CMSESMC STEM Conference invites teachers, administrators and parents to explore the exciting aspects of STEM education. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors providing a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources for use in Pre-K to 12 STEM education programs. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.
February 14 – 16, 2016 - National Parks Free Entrance Day
Take advantage of National Park Free Entrance Days to walk in the shoes of John F. Kennedy (Whiskeytown NRA), Theodore Roosevelt (Yosemite), gain a greater understanding of Franklin Roosevelt’s era (Manzanar & Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front) or just take the opportunity to enjoy any of California’s National Park areas on this President’s Day weekend!
February 27, 2016 - Gold Coast Science Network Conference
Gold Coast Science Network conference ‘NGSS:Engineering Our Future’ will focus on connecting Common Core and NGSS. We invite you to join us for over 30 workshops, two keynote speakers, the opportunity to network with local teachers and STEM organizations from Ventura and surrounding counties and take home ready-to-use STEM lessons and materials! A continental breakfast, lunch, parking a GCSN membership are included in registration.
March 6, 2016 - Placer County STEM Expo
The Placer County STEM Expo is our region’s innovative alternative to the typical science fair. This exciting, free, one day event features Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics as educational opportunities and viable career paths – showcasing elementary through high school student-generated work – connecting students with their community!
March 22, 2016 - World Water Day
Under the theme ‘Water and Jobs’, World Water Day 2016 highlights the relationship between water and sustainable development – making sure that water is of sufficient quality, ensuring that our cities have enough water infrastructure, measuring progress of access to sanitation, looking at how we will have enough water to make food while protecting ecosystems.
April 16–24, 2016 – National Park Week
National Park Week is America’s largest celebration of national heritage. It’s about making great connections, exploring amazing places, discovering open spaces, enjoying affordable vacations and enhancing America’s best idea—the national parks! Plan your visit by what you want to do or where you want to go. Browse the event calendar and check out the special programs offered throughout the week.
April 29 – May 1, 2016 – AEOE Statewide Spring Conference
The Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education is a state-wide affiliate for the North American Association of Environmental Educators (or NAAEE). Our volunteer run organization is charged with providing a diverse pool of trained educators that is knowledgeable and skilled at educating today’s youth about the natural world. Join us for the Statewide Spring Conference at Camp Hess Kramer in Malibu, CA.
GRANTS, SCHOLARSHIPS & AWARDS
California Coastal Art & Poetry Contest - Deadline: January 30, 2016
The California Coastal Commission invites California students in K-12th grade to submit artwork or poetry with a California coastal or marine theme. By encouraging youth to reflect on the beauty and spirit of California’s beaches and ocean, we hope to inspire a greater sense of stewardship for these natural places.
Captain Planet Foundation Grants – Deadline: January 31, 2016
The Captain Planet Foundation makes grants to U.S.-based schools and organizations with an annual operating budget of less than $3 million. Captain Planet Foundation accepts grant requests for amounts between $500 – $2,500. Preferential consideration is given to requests that have secured at least 50% matching or in-kind funding for their projects.
NEA Student Achievement Grants – Deadline: February 1, 2016
NEA Grants support new ideas and practices to strengthen teaching and learning. Our goal is to fund and share successful strategies to educate and prepare students for bright and rewarding futures. To build our knowledge base and to uncover new, great practices in public education we invite all eligible educational professionals to apply for these grants.
California Recycling Challenge – Registration Deadline: March 1, 2016
The California Recycling Challenge is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for K-12 school recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their school communities. Over a one month period, schools report recycling and trash data, which are then ranked according to who collects the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables or have the highest recycling rate.
Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program – Deadline: March 15, 2016
The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program (JDS) is a dynamic arts and science curriculum that teaches wetlands and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school. The program incorporates scientific and wildlife management principles into a visual arts curriculum, with participants completing a JDS design as their visual “term paper.”
Presidential Awards for Excellence - Deadline: April 1, 2016
The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the nation’s highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science). Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of science and mathematics education. Nominations are now open for 2015 to honor teachers working in grades 7-12.
Stockholm Junior Water Prize – Applications Due: April 15, 2016
The California Water Environment Association (CWEA) is looking for California’s best and brightest high school student to represent California in the global Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition – the world’s most prestigious water-science competition for students! The purpose of the competition is to increase students’ interest in water-related issues and research and to raise awareness about global water challenges. The winner of the California competition will advance to the national level, and the winner of that event will represent America at the global competition in Sweden.
California Project WET Gazette is published by the Water Education Foundation, which serves as the state coordinator for Project WET USA, a program of the Project WET Foundation.
Editor: Brian Brown, California Project WET Coordinator