As part of the Every Kid in a Park program and with support from the National Park Foundation, the Santa Monica Mountains Fund has paid for buses bringing nearly 15,000 4th graders to the park. Many of the kids were from Title 1 schools and enjoyed a first ever visit to a national park.
The students took part in one of these programs:
- The Chumash: A Changing People, A Changing Land
- Buzzworthy News: Pollinator Partners and You
- Junior Ranger Event
- Mountains to the city
At Rancho Sierra Vista and King Gillette Ranch nearly 4,000 students over the year found out about the Chumash peoples’ lives in the mountains. They looked at replicas of items used by the Chumash such as abalone shells or arrow heads and discussed the ocean and how they used it for their own needs. They also they went on a guided half mile multi-sensory hike in the park looking at plants and animals and listened to the sounds of nature all around them.
The Buzzworthy program at Rocky Oaks focused on pollinators so the students spent time looking at bugs, identifying them and recording relevant data. To help them understand that nature exists in the city as well as in a national park, the kids discussed how to help look after pollinators in their own neighborhood. A fun bingo scavenger-hunt to find insects, flowers and plants at Rocky Oaks completed the day.
King Gillette Ranch and Peter Strauss Ranch hosted the Junior Ranger events with each one involving 200 to 380 students. As part of small groups of 8 – 10 with a chaperone the students visited a number of activity stations during the day. These included learning how to pitch a tent, identifying plants and animals through a scavenger hunt, looking at animal skull features, enjoying a short hike, and telling stories about being outdoors. At the end of the day each student was sworn in as a Junior Ranger receiving a badge and certificate as well as information about the mountains and other national parks in SoCal.
At Debs Park around 3,000 students over the year learnt about how the mountains come right into Los Angeles and about the area’s flora and fauna. They had a fun day of activity and adventure right in the city.
We’re delighted so many enthusiastic 4th graders got to experience these beautiful mountains and hope they return with their families for future visits!