endangered species


Virtual Electronic Field Trips
by National Hall of Fame teacher Alan Haskvitz
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

Thing back to your school days and the chances are that besides a lost love it was a field trip that you recall vividly. Whether that class visit was to a museum, park, or historical place the learning and enjoyment standout. Today, with modern electronics, budgeting concerns, lawsuit avoidance, curriculum standards, and high value testing results, field trips are a rarity, if not extinct.

Sad, yes, but what is even more disheartening is the fact that students won’t have the opportunity to go somewhere that they could later in life share with their family. Even when a grant has been secured to help pay for the transportation and entrance costs you need to impose on other teachers to have that student miss their class. A small favor to ask, but nonetheless a day of learning missed for that subject area.

There is also the time consuming of tasks of trolling for parents to supervise, arranging the time for buses to arrive, medications, making sure no child is without an emergency number, and that the students understand the time schedule. There may be need for substitute plans and it is recommended that you take a picture of the group on the day of the trip so that if one is missing he or she is easier to identify by officials. This is a lot to ask from a teacher and certainly not a requirement for their position.

But all the above are practical matters. What is missing is the spontaneous learning opportunity across curriculum areas and the diversity of learning opportunities. For example, before the students get on the bus they must calculate the mileage, make an estimate of the miles per hour, study a map to see what other significant places are along the road, and study a layout of the facility noting where they are to report, restrooms, and other places they need to know. The combines both geography and math and map reading. Add to that mix the directions the bus will travel and estimated time of arrival and you have a great learning experience before the trip begins. Having the students make their own note taking book using inexpensive note pads and self-made marbled paper using printers ink and library or book binding tape and you have an art lesson. Using technology, students can even use global positioning information to track the trip and note the various streets taken to make them more aware of the importance of knowing where they are when traveling.

There is always the value of debriefing once the trip is finished and having the students share a study guide for the trip about such items as types of occupations noted, most unusual fact, names of docents, and a list of items observed and the addresses of those who need thank you notes and, perhaps, art work.

The learning that can be linked to a field trip makes if memorable, but just as importantly, enables them to learn on their own, something that electronic field trips to do not currently offer. It is not that electronic field trips are bad, far from it, what better way to visit places far behind the immediate area. What they lack is the spirit of adventure, the learning with friends on their own, to learn from others and, above all, the excitement to actually tell their family about and share the learning and motivate a future excursion.

Fortunately, when I was attending school legal matters were not the main concern. Learning was. We stood in the back of a truck on the way to a historical park, walked miles across town to visit a museum, went to a zoo and were simply told to report back at a certain time, not to mention trips to airfields, ships, museums, and significant buildings. The fact that I can recall these and don’ t remember the teacher’s name is not an indictment of the school system, but a reflection that perhaps we need to rethink what I call “seated learning” as the only way to inculcate facts.

Due to legal and financial constraints perhaps it is time to take a longer look at electronic or Internet field trips.

First, to make this lesson as real life as possible it would be good to have a map of the location, and, if it is a building or park, a map of that as well. In this way the student has a sense of where the images are coming from. Furthermore, if it is a location, such as a museum, the students can be given math problems on time and distance to help them understand the expenses of such travel. This also ties in with Common Core questions as well.

Before the trip is taken the students should read about the place, be prepared to compare it to others, and be given time to write what they might learn or would like to learn. These can be used at the end of the lesson as the bases for a compare and contrast essay. Obviously, the lesson also ties in with technology and science lessons as well.

The students need to take notes on the field trip including the webpage and what was shown. I would recommend that the trip take place during class time to keep the group on task and eliminate students going off-topic.

The teacher needs to review the site first, make an agenda of what is going to be shown and in what order, and create a list of questions for the students to answer as the lesson progresses.

It should be remembered that field trips may not be the same as once thought. There are now field trips that show how to make bread, ride a horse, and more. So be selective and make sure they meet your objectives.

Virtual Field Trips
Ten of the Best Virtual Field Trips
http://www.eschoolnews.com/2013/04/07/ten-of-the-best-virtual-field-trips/

Huge List of Electronic Field Trips
http://www.bsu.edu/eft/home2/31digest.php

http://www.pitt.edu/~poole/VirtualFieldTrips.html

Apps for field trips from Edutopia
Rather limited, but varied.
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/ipad-apps-virtual-field-trips-monica-burns

  Wolf Mountain Sanctuary: The Saving Place

Note: Idaho has apparently joined Alaska in the use of aircraft to rundown wolves and shoot them from the air. There is also the possibility, according to the Defenders of Wildlife, of the pups being gassed in their dens. It is my hope that wolves shall be placed back on the Endangered Species list of Interior Secretuary Salazar. Meanwhile, I have cancelled my trip to Alaska this summer and refused to attend any conference in Idaho or Montana.

 by Alan Haskvitz

The door swung open and I stood looking into the enclosure of the legendary wolf. The antagonist of Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs and other works of fiction stood before me. I was entering the world of an animal that has created such fear in humans that they were hunted into extinction in the lower 48 states. Before me was a large wolf with vivid yellow eyes that followed my every move. I sat on a nearby picnic table and wondered what was going to happen next.

Licked by a Star

I caught a glimpse of the wolf as she moved towards me. Effortlessly she jumped on the table. I sat still, arms folded against my chest, breathing a bit fast, with my senses on high alert. What happened next was magic. The yellow-eyed giant started pushing against me, rubbing her nose in my hair, and…was that a kiss? No, it couldn’t be. Maybe a lick. Either way, this was the first time a movie star had ever, ah, kissed me. Yep, movie star. This was one of the wolves featured in the Twilight movies and several other films and television productions. .

During the rest of the visit with these great animals I was enthralled with their actions. They pushed against me, walked around me, and in general they were, well, good wolves. Little Red Riding Hood be damned. I left an hour later not only with a new appreciation for these endangered animals, but feeling that this was the best $35 I had ever spent. I wonder how the the Inland Empire Tourist people had missed promoting this gem.

Interacting with the Wolves

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary is located in Lucerne Valley, about an hour drive for 909 readers. This is truly a saving place dedicated to preserving the lives and legacy of this nation’s few remaining wolves and to educating the public about them in a way few have ever dared. Unlike nearly any facility in the world, Wolf Mountain Sanctuary provides visitors with the opportunity to directly interact with the wolves, look into their eyes, and perhaps develop a fresh perspective on an animal that continues to be hunted for sport.

Tonya Littlewolf, who is part Apache, developed this remarkable facility as an extension of her life’s calling. As a youngster she would hide in wolf dens to escape the adult world. Seeing this unique ability to be at ease with these ancestors of the domesticated dog, her grandparent told her that working with wolves was her summons in life and believed she had the the spirit of the wolf about her. A lifetime later that prediction has proven correct. Littlewolf established the sanctuary in 1986 and never looked back despite huge meat bills and the rising cost of veterinarian visits. She has nearly single handled carved out a safe place for the public to go meet these noble creatures and to learn the truth about an animal that is again being pushed into oblivion after being removed from the endangered species list by the Interior Secretary.

I am part of he wolves they are part of me toghter they are one, we walk together, spiritial. healers.

Adopt a Wolf

At present there are 14 wolves sheltered at the Sanctuary and two pups are scheduled to arrive later in the fall. She takes in wolves from Alaska and other states. Typical of them is the wolf adopted by Suzanne Middle School in Walnut, California as part of meeting the State curriculum. The students had stared a wildlife club in honor of Wolf 527 who was killed just outside Yellowstone. This famous wolf was featured in a documentary showing how the wolves helped restore balance to the national park. The wolf was killed as it wore a radio transmitting collar. The students saw the need to get involved and asked Ms.Littlewolf if there was a wolf that needed adopting. She described a young, clumsy one that needed some love. The students arranged to provide ten dollars a month to sponsor this wolf named Denali. Over the years the students have watched Denali grow into an older, mischievous, and still clumsy wolf. They love to hear about his escapades such as nearly flooding his enclosure by opening the water spout or falling off a ledge when he misjudged his jumping abilities. It was a win-win for the students as they learned about wolves and their fund raising helped off-set the food bills for this clownish wolf. Others wolves need adopting, too, and Ms. Littlewolf supplies adoption papers and a biography. 

Wolf Mountain sanctuary is a non-profit facility and all funds go to the care of the wolves and are tax deductible. Several groups have tried to help, but it is the general public that is needed most, said Ms. Littlewolf. For $35 a person, half of what it would cost for Disneyland, the visitors get an explanation of what wolves are like, an introduction into how they are cared for, and an opportunity to enter their world. No extra charge for kisses from the stars. 

For more information go to

http://www.wolfmountain.com/

For reservations and directions call 1-760-248-7818

Animal Rights and Environmental Organizations: In Honor of Wolf 527

by The Car Family

One sure fire way to get students interested and involved is through using lessons and issues related to the environment and animal rights. I started a 527 Wildlife Club. It was named for the dominate female Yellowstone female wolf that was killed by Ryan Counts of Pray, Montana. The wolf was wearing a radio collar and shortly thereafter most of her group was also killed. This an major kills in Idaho were the result of the gray wolf being removed from the endangered list by the Secretary of the Interior. After reading the story of 527’s life the students were eager to take action. They wrote letters, send petitions, sponsored a wolf at the Wolf Mountain Sanctuary, and sent money to Defenders of Wildlife. They were empowering themselves. They were motivated to learn and to use the system appropriately.

When they came to class the regular lessons were waiting and they gulped down the material eagerly after checking what was happening on the current events board and what emails have arrived. This motivation not only rolled into the classroom, but they started to get their parents involved. Clearly, this issue was controversial as many feel that the wolves threaten their livestock and some claim wolves are causing the elk population to fall. Thus it is important to show both sides of the issue. That being said, there are less controversial issues students can adopt, but this issue and the way that 527 was killed stirred a fire under them as few other issues have ever done. Using the teachable moment ideas here, ( http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/teachable-moments.html) I was able to integrate the curriculum, and keep the fires burning while still following the required course of study.

Should you want to see more about what happened here are some articles that may be of interest. Also listed are a variety of environmental links to all types of educational related sites. Very worthwhile and true to the goal of education, which is to provide lifelong learners and good citizens. We even used them to bring in guest speakers to help bring new information to the students.

Photo ffrom Tom Murphy

http://tmurphywild.com/

The story of 527 and her killing:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittenclaw/4100924679/

and

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/oct/25/nation/na-wolf-hunt25

Here is the site where we adopted a wolf from. There are other wolf adoption sites that may be closer.

The students loved the fact that these wolves were the models for the ones in Twilight-New Moon

http://www.wolfmountain.com/

Here is a good overall site with many organizations of all types offering educational materials

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/environment.html

General environmental organizations

http://www.reacheverychild.com/science/environment/index.html

Educational Sites

http://www.reacheverychild.com/science/environment/programs.html

Wolf cam

http://www.wolf.org/wolves/experience/webcam.asp

Animal Rights Organizations

Huge link site by issue, animal

http://www.webdirectory.com/Wildlife/

Wildlife organizations in alphabetical order

http://animal.discovery.com/guides/atoz/organizations.html

Worldlife Organization

http://www.worldwildlife.org/

Animal Welfare Sites

http://www.dmoz.org/Society/Organizations/Animal_Welfare/Rescues_and_Shelters/Wildlife/

Bird Sites

http://www.webdirectory.com/wildlife/Birds/

Wolf Sanctuaries

http://www.wolfpark.org/Links_org.html

and

http://www.timberwolfinformation.org/info/listing.htm

Wolf and Wildlife link site

http://www.wolf.org/wolves/learn/basic/resources/links_wolforgs.asp

Wolves and Bears

http://www.cosmosmith.com/wolf_links.html

Endangered Animals Worldwide

http://www.kidsplanet.org/factsheets/map.html

Environment Sites

Environmental Organizations

http://www.reacheverychild.com/science/environment/overviews.html

Rainforest and conservation sites

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/global-resources.html#4

Weather related sites

http://www.reacheverychild.com/science/environment/weather.html

General organizations

http://www.reacheverychild.com/science/environment/organizations.html

Oceanography

http://www.reacheverychild.com/science/environment/oceanography.html

Rainforest and trees

http://www.reacheverychild.com/science/environment/forests.html

Water resources

http://www.reacheverychild.com/science/environment/water.html

Energy links

http://www.reacheverychild.com/science/environment/energy.html

Recyling

http://www.reacheverychild.com/science/environment/recycling.html

Youth Programs

http://www.reacheverychild.com/science/environment/youth.html

Forests

http://www.reacheverychild.com/science/environment/forests2.html

Earth Day

http://www.reacheverychild.com/science/environment/earthday.html

Soil and Parks

http://www.reacheverychild.com/science/environment/soil.html

Arbor Day

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/trees.html

Native Plant Oragnizations

http://www.tardigrade.org/natives/orgs.html