• The dunes in soft light

    White Sands

    National Monument New Mexico

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Closures and Missile Tests

    Upcoming Missile Tests: From time to time the missile range that surrounds us performs missile testing that may require the closure of the park or Highway 70. Please follow the link below for up to date information on closures More »

  • 2014 WHITE SANDS BALLOON INVITATIONAL

    The White Sands Balloon Committee and the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce will be hosting both days of the Balloon Festival on Sept 20-21 at the Alamogordo Balloon Fiesta Park in Alamogordo, NM. For more information call 800-826-0294 or (575) 437-6120.

  • Summer Monument Hours

    The monument currently opens at 7 a.m. and closes roughly 1 hour after sunset. More »

  • Road Safety Corridor

    The first four miles of Dunes Drive is a road safety corridor. Slowing or stopping in the corridor is prohibited. Dune Life Nature and Playa trails are also temporarily closed. The staff of White Sands National Monument apologizes for the inconvenience.

Rangers in the Classroom

Ranger in a classroom
NPS Photo
 

Invite a Ranger to Your Classroom

Schools up to 30-miles from White Sands National Monument may request a ranger to present a program in the classroom. (This includes the communities of Alamogordo, Tularosa, and Cloudcroft.)

White Sands National Monument offers curriculum-based programs that directly relate park resources to what you are teaching in the classroom. Program topics are offered on desert ecology, geology, plants, animals, adaptation, area history, minimum impact resource use, environmental ethics, biodiversity, and endangerd species. Other topics may be arranged.

Please plan ahead! Before calling the park, decide what program topic would most directly relate to the unit you are teaching and most beneficial to your students. You can download the list of topics here. The park requires at least one month's advance notice in order to schedule and prepare for the program. Each program will be tailored to meet your class's educational needs.

Please fill out the reservation form and email to WHSA_education@nps.gov. The Education Specialist will contact you to confirm a ranger presentation in your classroom.

Supplemental Materials: The White Sands Puppet Theater

The White Sands Puppet Theater is a portable puppet show presented by rangers. It uses a variety of puppets and is designed to teach students about the animals that make their homes in the dunes. If you would like to arrange a puppet show, please download the puppet show reservation form. Mail the completed from to whsa_education@nps.gov or fax it to (575) 479-1116. The Education Coordinator will then contact you to confirm the details.

Due to the size of the theater set-up and both the space and time required to set it up, it is recommended this is presented to more than a single classroom at one time. We prefer an audience of 70-80 students for this presentation.

We will do our best to accommodate all requests. Please keep in mind, however, that due to staffing levels or demand, there may be dates on which we may not be able to do so.
 
Puppet Shows Available

Pedro Ponders the Past

Pedro Ponders the Past is a one-act puppet skit on the geological history of White Sands National Monument written by Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Joplin J. Sell. The show lasts approximately 45 minutes and follows a new park ranger as she prepares for her first Sunset Stroll. The new ranger learns about the unique geological formation of the dunefield, the importance of water to the dunes, plants, and animals as well as the people who have lived in the basin surrounding the dunes. This show is appropriate for ages K-3.

Dreams of Adaptations

Dreams of Adaptations is a one-act puppet skit on animal adaptation at White Sands National Monument written by Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Joplin J. Sell. The show lasts approximately 30 minutes and follows the adventures of a young Mescalero Apache boy as he encounters the animals of the dunefiled and learns how they have adapted to survive in this unique desert environment. This show is appropriate for grades K-3.

For a more in-depth summary of each show, download it here.
 
Ranger with puppets
Ranger Joplin Sell with the stars of the puppet show
NPS photo
 
 
 

Did You Know?

Photo of sand grains

The gypsum that makes up the white sands starts out as clear, translucent sand grains. As the wind bounces the sand grains along the ground, they collide and scratch each other. The scratches change the way light reflects off the grains, making the sand appear white.