BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 557

Outdoor Science Made Easy -- and Fun!

It was “No Problem!” for dozens of young problem-solvers to get a head start on their science projects. At  two Outdoor Science Workshops, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument  Youth Crew -- a group of young adults -- introduced elementary grade students to a new  world of investigation. The setting: open desert across from their school sites. Students and their families from Two Bunch Palms school in Desert Hot Springs, and Rancho Mirage Elementary participated.

They practiced experimental techniques to answer questions such as, “Do plants transpire more in the day or night?”, “In which direction do rodent holes face?”, “ Does water percolate faster/slower through soil on the San Andreas fault than from other environments?” and “How do male and female birds behave differently?”  Curious children had a ‘field day’ with the young staff as they practiced field study skills and were challenged to commit to a science fair project question – nature-based, of course. Families were informed of the easy access to public land surrounding the desert cities of the Coachella Valley and encouraged to pursue field studies.

a BLM employee shows students plants amid desert sand
BLM Researcher Vince James compares insect diversity among different species of plants.

a young student looks closely at a desert plant with a plastic bag over one branch
A junior botanist observes plant transpiration.

a boy examines a bird identification book
A boy gets ready for a bird behavior study

a student and teacher examine sandy desert soil near a school building
Pete A’Hearn of Palm Springs Unified school district explains percolation of different desert soils

an older boy in an orange shirt escorts younger students marking papers on clipboards
“K Rat”, National Monument  HIKE Crew Instructor assists three boys in search of rodent burrows.

- Tracy Albrecht, Interpretive Specialist, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, BLM Palm Springs South Coast Field Office (November 13, 2012) 

BLM California News.bytes, issue 557 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.