The Conservancy’s Mojave Explorers program helped bring a class of 22 sixth graders from Victorville to the Preserve for an overnight camping trip in October. For most of the students, this was their first time camping and their first real opportunity to become acquainted with their public lands. The success of this first Mojave Explorers trip has generated requests by teachers to bring more students out to the Preserve, but we need your help to keep this program going in 2019. Any donation, big or small, can help introduce kids to the Mojave.
The October trip proved to be a significant experience for the students. Students learned about the different habitat types that comprise the Mojave, special adaptations of desert wildlife, and how humans can impact the desert. The Rings Loop trail boosted the students’ confidence in the outdoors and offered an up close look at the volcanic history of the region. At night, the group learned about nocturnal wildlife and enjoyed an astronomy session led by an educator from Lowell Observatory. Students learned how to pitch a tent and make s’mores.
The next day students packed up and headed out to Kelso Dunes for a hike led by one of the Preserve’s rangers. Students used wildlife guides assembled by the Conservancy during critical thinking exercises on the bus and during hikes. By the end of the trip, students that initially expressed uncertainty about spending a night in the outdoors were filled with pride by newfound knowledge, experiences and skills. One student even returned to the Preserve with her family in the days following the trip.
Gearing up for 2019
The Conservancy recognizes that getting an entire class out to the Mojave is no easy task for teachers. Many people are not very familiar enough with the desert ecosystem to be able to tie a Mojave field trip into their curriculum. And ensuring that an entire class has the necessary gear to spend a night and two days in the desert can put a field trip out of reach. The Conservancy’s Mojave Explorers program aims to address both of these hurdles.
For 2019, the Conservancy anticipates having to update and print additional wildlife guides, as well as purchase additional tents, sleeping bags and flashlights. We had enough gear for our trip in October, but we anticipate bringing a larger group in 2019. We are also anticipating needing to replace or repair gear over the next few years. Your donation will help us maintain momentum.
Our wildlands face an array of threats, and it is critical that the next generation is afforded an opportunity to understand and appreciate the Mojave that they have inherited. Click here to donate today.