NATURAL HERITAGE AWARENESS PROGRAM
TELESECONDARY SCHOOL #10, EL SARGENTO, BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR, MÉXICO
The Natural Heritage Awareness Program began in May of 2008 to bring about to the students an awareness of all things natural surrounding
them and the means of identifying and understanding it through the natural exhibit, photos, DVDs, and books.
This program, like the nature it envelopes, is ever changing and growing. It is designed to supply the tools needed to spark the imagination of the children so that they may be inspired to continue their education and reach beyond what they now know.
The hope is that it will help them to understand the radical changes coming their way because of the rapid development of theirs and the surrounding communities and that this new awareness will bring about a passion to not only appreciate but protect this beautifully rich and fragile environment that they live in.
November 7th, 2009 we began the first Mural, our subject was the Sea. Nature and Art are intrinsically tied through color and form so what more natural way to instill knowledge in an engaging way than through the hands on art of painting. Many of the students were already quite adept at drawing and were more than enthusiastic not only about the subject matter but the new form of expression. It was quite difficult to stop the flow when our sea was full.
Without knowing, the seed of reconstructing a Skeleton of a Blue Whale was planted in April of 2009 when a Blue Whale corpse floated ashore within reach. Since then many have worked to find and retrieve bones both underwater and on the shores of the bay. Many were donated back by local and visiting boaters and fisherman. We now have them buried in the park letting nature do the cleaning but many more are out there and in the community and needed to complete the project.
In the early part of 2010 the idea of a Science Pavilion as a way to exhibit at least the ribs was suggested. The idea was expanded into the Ventana Bay Science and Art Park. You now can stand in what feels to be the center of a Blue Whale while you admired the students’ artwork of the local flora and fauna and read both in Spanish and English the wall size charts with the pictures and names of all the whales, dolphins, porpoises, turtles, seals, and sea lions that frequent the waters surrounding Baja. There is also a wet and dry touch tank filled with all sorts of specimens and soon there will be a complete skeleton of a dolphin on display.
The park is in the process of reforestation with indigenous and shade trees as well as fruit trees to tie in with the agriculture program. The Pavilion and shade trees provide a refreshing venue for outdoor teaching in the warmer but breezy months.
The future is filled with projects already in their infancy and some still just a wistful dream.
The second mural, one of the desert and mountains, will commence as soon as we are able to properly prepare the wall. Past forms of paint combined with the local saline water have made the surface unsuitable for a lasting mural. The details will have to be worked out but we need to bring the wall down to its original surface.
The Blue Whale Skeleton reconstruction is our primary and largest project. Soon we will be digging up the bones and begin the enormous task of cleaning, repairing, and replicating some bones to be, once again, brought together as a whole skeleton for the largest mammal on earth.
When we have the proper permits a bobcat skeleton is waiting for reconstruction as well as a turtle or two.
Beyond this is a dream for a new building to house a library, computer room, a performing and fine arts room, a shop for wood working and other such projects, and possibly a lab.
You may ask what all the previous projects have to do with learning. Learning about the ecology and environment surrounding them from a new hands-on venue makes everyone more aware of the value it has not only to them and their community but to their futures. The benefits in learning to work in cooperation with others are incalculable. There is the research, exploring new ways to do things, thinking through problems, the feeling of being involved in something bigger than normal, the pride in accomplishment and of course the memory that they will carry throughout their lives. You can see it in the expression on there faces.
The local community graciously stepped in and helped this year as we did not have sufficient funding for both the construction and the continued operation and maintenance of the program. Money, construction materials, labor, and discounts were kindly tendered. To these and all the people who in the past donated money, made purchases, and put in the time to help both on the project and at our fundraisers I offer our deepest gratitude for without you we never would have gotten to this point.
Your continued support is needed and greatly appreciated. Please participate fully in our fundraisers noted on our events page and donations will cheerfully be accepted. We also can make arrangements for those of you who would like to become a Patron of the Park or would like to set up a donation as a Memorial.