The Mojave National Preserve Conservancy is launching the Mojave Explorers program to facilitate school visits to the Preserve and develop curriculum that teachers can use to educate students about desert wildlife and wildlands. We are asking for your help - donations of any amount will allow us to purchase camping gear and other educational equipment that will be loaned out to classes visiting the Preserve.
Friends of the Preserve know that the Mojave is a wonderful place. We also know how difficult it is to capture or describe its qualities to someone who has never visited. The youth of today will inherit the Mojave and the Conservancy wants to ensure that they have the opportunity to build an understanding and appreciation of these amazing public lands.
Tackling Challenges for the Educators
In working with educators, the Conservancy has identified two primary hurdles to getting students out to the Preserve. First, many teachers may not have sufficient understanding of the desert or the Preserve to independently incorporate the Mojave into lesson plans. Second, overnight trips to the Preserve allow students more time to hike and explore the desert, but many schools do not have easy access to camping gear to facilitate overnight camping visits. The Conservancy's Mojave Explorers program aims to help address both of these challenges.
Tailoring the Curriculum
It can be difficult for educators that have not been to the Preserve before to develop lesson plans and an itinerary for a class visit. Just bringing students to the Preserve is a logistical hurdle; educators also must demonstrate that their field trips relate to specific educational requirements. This is where the Conservancy can help. The Conservancy can offer its knowledge of the Preserve and work with educators to develop a trip itinerary and lesson plans that will fit with California's Next Generation Science Standards.
A Mojave Trip is Not Complete Without an Overnight Stay
Overnight visits to the Preserve offer kids the best opportunity to learn first-hand about the desert, its geology, wildlife and the history of human inhabitation. Camping overnight not only means that students can spend more time on the ground, but also that students can take advantage of the Mojave's incredible night sky, possibly seeing the Milky Way for the first time and gaze through telescopes for an astronomy lesson. And as frequent desert visitors are well aware, the desert is alive at night; students will hopefully see blats fluttering overhead at dusk, hear the song of the coyotes in the distance, or wake to the call of a great horned owl in the middle of the night.
A trip to the Mojave National Preserve can also be a formative experience for some students: their first trip to a National Park, their first time camping, their first time seeing a night sky free of light pollution, or their first time seeing a chuckwalla lizard scrambly over lava rock. For educators, a trip to the Preserve offers a myriad of opportunities to immerse students in real-world dynamics and environments that may have only been discussed as concepts or shown in illustrations in the classroom.
Help Us Make the Mojave a Reality for Kids
The Conservancy appreciates any amount you are able to donate to help us purchase camping gear and educational equipment. You can make a tax-deductible donation through our fund at the Community Foundation by following this link. Thank you!