Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Fall Fieldtrip!

~Andrew Alverez, Education Coordinator

Yesterday, Imperial Valley Desert Museum received Ballington Academy for our first field trip of the season.     We were excited to have our first students, parents, and teachers, so we arrived early to make arrangements.   I attached myself to a group and began to take pictures as children and parents went through the stations.   It was a challenging task that I was eager to take, for I was ready to do my part as a staff member.   I recalled advice given to me by other staff about photography and tried to apply it.  So, I was going up, down, and to the sides to capture moments as they happened.    In my excitement, I had forgotten my cap at home for the nature walk station, so I was taking pictures with sun obstructing my view as it obscured the camera feed.  I was determined to do a good job, so I sought an angle and focused on it.  I tried to find a center of focus and began to take pictures without using the camera as a reference.   As we moved through the wash, I was able to make a “makeshift” shade with my hands that allowed me to see through the camera and keep taking pictures.  Despite this obstacle, I was able to take great pictures that were used on museum social media posts.   When I saw that this had happed, I felt accomplished. 
When I was taking pictures, I was able to interact with parents and Ballington Academy staff.   I made some comments to reinforce some points made during the field trips and also answered questions about plant life in the Imperial Valley.   It was this station that I saw an interesting phenomenon:  Students were capturing our stations on their phones and tablets.   I was intrigued by this as it was a different method of engagement that I had not experienced before.    They were recording our stations to share them with their friends and family, and in the age of social media, there is no better way to do so.   
When we returned to the building, my group worked on our concrete tortoise, which served as our art station on this field trip. Students enjoyed this activity immensely and so did parents.   One parent wished they had known about us earlier so they could’ve come to us.   As we were nearing lunch time, we spoke about geology while we waited for the other group to come from the wash.   Ryan and I showed kids a phenomenon known as tribo-luminescence; a process that occurs when no electrons are passed between objects creating a spark inside it.  Students and parents alike were amazed by how two rocks were able to create something spectacular.   

It was fun and challenging to participate on my first field trip and I cannot wait to for the next one!