4th-Graders Visit Yosemite to Explore Land Ownership, Use, and Stewardship

For their first semester thematic unit, our 4th-Grade Snow Valley Crew is exploring land ownership, use, and stewardship from various perspectives, and through the lenses of social studies (history & policy), science (erosion, climate change), and language arts (art & writing that champions wilderness).

Their guiding questions include:

– To whom does the land belong?
– What effect are human beings having on the land?
– What ethical responsibility do people have to the land?
– What is the purpose of creating art?

Throughout this semester-long thematic unit, students are meeting with experts from different governing bodies, tribal nations, and interest groups as they embark on field studies to different types of public land. For this field study, the 4th-grade crew visited Yosemite National Park during the magical time of year when summer transitions to fall.

While in Yosemite the students were fortunate enough to experience a customized program with Ranger Ryan to learn about the history of the land that currently makes up Yosemite, from all the way back to when it was covered by glaciers, to the time of the Miwok and Ahwahneechee, to the first European settlers, to the creation of the National Park.

The crew also explored the natural wonder of the park with a hike to Lower Yosemite Falls, a visit to the recreated Native American village in Yosemite Valley, time spent staring up El Capitan to watch the climbers make their way up the big wall, and some free time at the Tuolumne River.

Thank you to the 4th-Grade Snow Valley Crew Leader Carolyn Highland for creating such a special real-world experience for her students. Judging by the smiles on their faces, they seemed to have a great time learning.

4th graders walking along a dirt road