Friday, May 27, 2016

"I Left My Heart at the Imperial Valley Desert Museum"

-by the Head Curator

Students explore Lake Cahuilla during field trip
If you subscribe to the Imperial Valley Press, you'll read in our "Land of Extremes" article tomorrow some impressive numbers looking at the growth of field trips to the museum over the last three years. Our first year of field trips in 2013 we had less than 200 students come out.  With today's field trip of De Anza Magnet fourth graders finishing out the field trip season, 2016 will have had over 2,000 students come out to the museum for field trips!

Meet our education staff: Marcie Rodriguez, Angelina Coble, & Albert Lutz- with Ramses
With such an increase in field trips, our education staff has had to increase as well.  In April, Angelina Coble went from being a volunteer to the newest member of the IVDM education staff.  Meet Angelina Coble, in her own words:

Angelina Coble, IVDM Education Staff, with Ramses

I Left My Heart at the Imperial Valley Desert Museum
-by Angelina Coble, IVDM Education Staff

When I first stepped into the Imperial Valley Desert Museum the thought never crossed my mind that my life would never be the same. The first time I attended I couldn’t believe such a sophisticated infrastructure could exist in the Imperial Valley, especially Ocotillo. I immediately signed up for the newsletter to stay informed about current events and museum business. I knew I wanted to participate and stay active in the museum in whatever capacity I could. I returned to the museum with my family for the Supermoon viewing party and we really enjoyed it.
I continued to stop by the museum whenever I could and I was always greeted by the staff with warm smiles and appreciation. Upon one of my visits, the museum director, Dr. Neal Hitch asked me if I was interested in volunteering at the museum; I quickly agreed. Ever since I have been helping run field trips with our local schools here in the valley. I have learned every component to running field trips: history, geology, and coiled clay.
I can’t explain the value of what I have learned from stepping through these doors and the relationships I have formed. Upon high school graduation I had moved to attend Grossmont College in El Cajon, CA. In 2012, I found myself back home due to unforeseen family circumstances. I struggled to accept being back in the place I had so desperately wanted to leave. What this museum did for me is what no other place or person could accomplish. The Imperial Valley Desert Museum helped me accept and appreciate the place I grew up in. I have not only fallen in love with my surroundings but with the museum itself. When I go outside I no longer see a hot desert wasteland; I see a valley with rich history and culture. I see the remnants of volcanic activity, an ocean bed, all-encompassing freshwater lake, and thriving desert ecosystem. 
My affiliation started long before I knew or recognized it. My grandfather Gene Coble helped put up the Spirit of the Desert statue located on the premises. He was part of the visionaries that believed the museum would indeed open one day. I wish my grandfather could see me now; He would be so proud.

The IVDM has also confirmed what I envision myself doing for the rest of my life. I know that I want to dedicate my life to transform disadvantaged areas through education and empowerment. I couldn’t think of a better place for me to be to require the skills and experience to do so. What I have gained being at the museum is what I wish to impart to others.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Girl Scout High Adventure Day

-Anne C. Morgan, Head Curator

On Saturday the Girl Scouts of San Diego held their "High Adventure Day" at the IVDM, with 117 scouts, scout leaders, and parents attending.

Learning to play Shaahook
Exploring the Museum grounds
 Thanks to a Community Benefits Grant sponsored by Imperial County District 3 Supervisor Michael Kelley, all girl scouts attended the event for free.  "The grant from the County Board of Supervisors if for recruitment and programming and really made this event possible, "said Nina Crabtree, the new Girl Scout Membership Recruitment and Support Specialist.  "It has a tremendous impact when so many troops get together. It really allows you to see how exciting and fun scouting is in the Valley."

Coiled Clay pot making

 "The High Adventure Day was open to all Girl Scout Troops in the Imperial Valley" said Rea de la Cruz, the Troop Support Manager for Girl Scouts San Diego "including our Juniors, Brownies, Daises, and Cadets.  We had great participation with one-fifth of all Girl Scouts in Imperial County coming to the event."

Exploring desert plants on a hike
Throughout the event, the scouts had the opportunity to make a coiled clay pot, hike through the museum property learning to identify animal tracks, and play Shaahook, a traditional Kumeyaay game.

Walking Stick insect jumped at the chance to make new friends
A Western Shovel-Nose snake discovered on a hike
"We did not expect to see any desert animals, but my group came across a Western Shovel-nose snake and a Walking Stick, an insect that looked just like a small stick." said de la Cruz.  "It is amazing that this type of desert wildlife was just right there, this was just a great experience for our girls."

 "The Shaahook game is something we have not done before with a large group like this," said Marcie Rodriguez, Education Coordinator at the museum, "but it was really fun and competitive.  It proved to be the most popular part of the event, with some groups staying 45 minutes past the end of the day to finish playing."
Angelina Coble teaches Shaahook to a competitive group of scouts

Special thanks to Rodrigo Bernal, Angelina Coble, Robin Dodge, Mary Fitzurka, and Albert Lutz for their help in making this event a fun day for everyone!