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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 301

"Living History Week" at Desert Discovery Center

It was known as the "longest, most arduous and crookedest pack mule train in the history of America."  This summer, students "explored" The Old Spanish Trail, as part of Barstow's Desert Discovery Center 2007 Summer Camp. (story continues below)
A drum lesson from an expert:
drum lesson
Main Street Murals is a new partner at the Desert Discovery Center, the BLM Barstow Field Office's environmental education center. Main Street Murals hosted a "Living History Week" at the Center, as part of the Jr. Naturalist Summer Day Camp. Each day had a different focus including scriptwriting, puppet-making, costume & set design, music and more.

The Old Spanish Trail was designated a National Historic Trail in 2002. The Trail route crosses six western states - New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California - and links some of the West's oldest communities. Students were led through the history of the trail and its role as the first overland trading route between New Mexico and California, "exploring" the six-state trail and the experience of the first explorers from the challenging landscape to the encounters with Native Americans.  The students learned how these explorers survived using the natural resources that they were surrounded by and how this early trail opened up the communication corridors for future generations. Through a series of storytelling and drama sessions, the students created characters and developed a script. At the end of the week, they performed this creation for the public.
The group shared in Native Indian culture, through story telling, dance and music.
Native American dance
Sharing cultures
The students also took part in puppet making classes and puppet manipulation workshops -- as well as costume, scenery and prop making, including a map of the trail, bow and arrow shoulder packs, feather head dresses, a model of the San Gabriel Mission, State placards, and papier-mâché cactus models. The program made good use of the Desert Discovery Center's puppet theater!
Historical puppet show
Main street Murals led the students on a walking tour of the historic murals in Barstow’s Old Town.
Students and escorts view historic murals in Barstow's Old Town
Music sessions encouraged the students to experiment with creating different sounds and rhythms -- to demonstrate characters, landscape and changing weather conditions.  This was a very musical group! Students also brought in their own instruments and shared an experimental group improvisation using violin, fiddle, guitar and drums.
dancing to the music

 During a 25-minute performance, students presented drama, puppets, music and fun to an audience of 50 – including family, the mayor, friends of the Desert Discovery Center and the local newspaper.
Students perform the script they wrote
This new Performance Art program "is a multi-curricular program that has been created to explore subjects of national and local relevance in their relation to the history and development of the Californian desert through a creative arts medium.  This hands-on program meets national curriculum standards and encourages the students to reach beyond a standard classroom experience as they are led through a series of formal and practical workshops and presentations discovery history, ecology, math, geography, botany, art, creative writing, drama, music and movement.  The program was designed to culminate in a public presentation demonstrating the students' interpretation of the subject through a range of creative arts skills explored during the program."
Desert Discovery Center
Creating life enhancing programs to educate, integrate and inspire our youth!
Creative Arts Coordinator - Jane Laraman-Brockhurst
For further information contact Tel: (760) 252-6060

BLM California News.bytes, issue 301

Last updated: 10-01-2007