Release Date: April 19, 2013
Contact: Jennie Kish Albrinck, 760-367-5520
One hundred ten 4th through 8th graders from the Morongo Unified School District's Gifted and Talented Education Kaleidoscope program worked with park rangers last summer to design a trail especially for kids. An exhibit of the presentation boards they created to offer their suggestions for the trail will open on April 24, 2013 at Joshua Tree Visitor Center and run for two weeks.
Mark Butler, superintendent of Joshua Tree National Park and Jim Majchrzak, superintendent at Morongo Unified School District, will speak at the 10 am opening. Participating students and their families are encouraged to attend this special viewing of their work.
An orientation, held at Copper Mountain College, provided the students with an introduction to the National Park Service and training on various aspects of trail creation in national parks, including: resource protection and safety considerations. The students also learned how to use a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit to capture waypoints to mark a trail route and for placement of trail signs.
Next the students visited the park to hike the Skull Rock area on both the north and south sides of Park Boulevard. Dubbed the "trailblazers," they made notes of things they wanted to know more about and observations about their experiences. They took pictures of features they enjoyed exploring and captured GPS waypoints of trail routes they enjoyed hiking.
On June 29, the trailblazers presented their ideas for this "4 kids by kids trail" to park staff. Their fresh approach and novel insights were well received and will be very helpful in the creation of a trail that will appeal to a variety of age and interest groups and that will encourage kids of all ages to explore Joshua Tree National Park.
Pictures of the students presenting their ideas to park staff may be viewed here.