On Friday, April 20, the Horton Creek Campground was alive with archaeological artefacts, bighorn sheep skulls, stream macroinvertebrates, interesting rocks, Leave No Trace flash cards, Paiute words, and sixty-two children from Round Valley Elementary School. Led by Friends of the Inyo and the Bishop BLM, Round Valley Earth Day is a chance for the elementary school students to learn about many different aspects of the place where they live, from its indigenous history, to its plants and animals, to its recreational opportunities.
The students arrived at the campground at 8:30am, and the clock began ticking. Eight educational stations were set up at adjacent campsites, and the kids were divided into eight groups of third through sixth graders. Every fifteen minutes, BLM Ranger Ron Napoles would sound the air horn, and the stations would switch (whether or not the leaders had finished their lessons!). As the kids tumbled into each new station, they were full of stories about what they’d just learned−bugs live in streams! Horns are different from antlers! You can’t fish unless you have a license! By the time the activities came to an end at 11:30, the leaders were exhausted but the students were enlivened, brimming with new knowledge about their home.
We’re grateful to the many community members and organizations who helped to lead educational stations this year, including the Bishop Paiute Tribe, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Leave No Trace, the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, Eastern Sierra Guide Service, and the Bishop BLM. And thanks to Round Valley Elementary School for bringing your enthusiasm to this celebration of everything our environment has to teach us!