April 18, 2012

Guadalupe Mountains LIVE Activity Peaks Interest in Animal Science Among Native American Students

On April 18, in conjunction with a LIVE Training Workshop, National Park Service interpreters took a group of Pala Native American Learning Center students on a virtual tour of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, which is located in west Texas. The students learned about Guadalupe vegetation and animal life with a particular focus on the kangaroo rat, which is also found in San Diego county.

The equipment used on the reservation end was a MacBook Pro running Skype and equipped with internal speakers and microphone. The computer was set up and tested by one of the elementary school students at the learning center. He followed instructions given by HPWREN staff Kimberly Bruch and connected the group to the park ranger situated at the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Although the video quality was a bit pixelated, the students didn't mind as they enjoyed talking in real-time with the Texas-based park ranger about the differences between the flora and fauna found in that part of the United States and their own reservation land.

The kangaroo rat, which is found in both west Texas and southern California, provoked the most interesting questions and a short video of the interaction between the park ranger and the students can be viewed here.

Several other topics were covered during the LIVE activity, such as sponges. A short video clip is found here.

The activity was well received by both the staff and the students of the learning center. Additional LIVE activities are being planned for the future.

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