February 15, 2008

Pala Native American Youth Explore Tidepools via HPWREN LIVE

LIVE activity at Pala Earlier this week, the HPWREN team worked with staff at the Pala Learning Center, the National Park Service (NPS), and the NSF-funded Indigenous Earth Sciences Project for a Live Interactive Virtual Exploration (LIVE) activity.

Specifically, approximately 15-20 Pala Learning Center children (grades K-5) participated in the LIVE event that featured the tidepools at Cabrillo National Monument.

Prior to the tidepools "tour" led by NPS Park Ranger New Thanyachareon, the students were given an explanation and able to ask questions about the geology of the area as well as the overall intertidal area at Cabrillo. This took place in a classroom at the learning center and was facilitated by IESP geologist Norrie Robbins, who is known as "Doc" on the reservation as she works with San Diego reservation youth on a regular basis doing science activities.

Though none of the children attending the event had been to an intertidal area, they were all familiar with the ocean in general and seemed to really enjoy both the pre-activities and the virtual real-time tour of Cabrillo tidepools.

"We are glad that the kids got to experience this area of the San Diego coast - they especially enjoyed talking with the park ranger and asking him questions about the animals found in the tidepools," said Pala Learning Center Coordinator Kisa Collins.

"The National Park Service team at Cabrillo is anxious to intergrate LIVE activities like this into their weekly educational program schedule," said Susan Teel, who leads the Southern California Research Learning Center which works with a diverse array of partners to facilitate and promote research and educational opportunties at Cabrillo National Monument. Our collaboration with HPWREN has expanded our capability to provide a National Park Service experience to traditionally underserved students, who might not otherwise visit or enjoy the natural and cultural resources at the park."

Additional HPWREN LIVE activities conducted with the Pala youth have included Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve and the Palomar Observatory.

Photographs of the activity are found below.

The set-up on the Pala end of the LIVE activity consisted of a Dell laptop equipped with an external microphone, web camera, speakers, and projector. Skype was utilized for the real-time communication between the Learning Center and the tidepools.

Before "touring" the tidepools, IESP geologist Norrie Robbins talked with the youth about the cliffs overlooking the tidepool area as well as the geology of the rocks found within the tidepools.

NPS Park Ranger New Thanyachareon spoke with the children at Pala in real-time and was able to point the camera at requested areas during the LIVE event.

Volunteer assistants Ethan and Elizabeth Bruch helped with testing the HPWREN connection the week prior to the February 11 activity at Pala.

-Kimberly Mann Bruch

 back to top

  back to HPWREN news

field research
network analysis
  ~ university of california, san diego ~ © 2000 ~