The Diablo Trust has developed instructional
materials and an on-the-ground teaching unit in conjunction with local schools in order to involve a larger cross-section of the greater Flagstaff community in land conservation and restoration issues.
In 1997, the Diablo Trust, with funding from the Flagstaff Arts and Science Commission and the Arizona Council for Environmental Education, began the development of a field trip unit for grades six through twelve. The unite begins with a 45-minute classroom visit by four Trust members in which students are introduced to basic biological, historical, and social concepts and information as they apply to rangeland today. They are also introduced, through a brief skit and slideshow, to current rangeland controversies.
They are provided with a packet of selected reading materials. Teachers agree to devote at least one class period to discussion of this content and to ask each student to prepare questions for the field trip. The all-day field trip includes six stops on the Flying M Ranch, each selected to illustrate important topics. Students are provided a guide to the tour, which includes fill-in sections pertinent to each site.
Trust members serve as 'instructors' based on their experience and knowledge. A subsequent in-school session is devoted to concluding the unit by further discussion and answering of questions. Pre- and post-content tests along with student and teacher comments are used in evaluation.
During the following two years, five classes from grades six to eleven took part in the unit. Evaluation showed that the unit was judged favorably by students and teachers, and that important though limited gains were made in student knowledge.
Three limitations were evident. The first was the need for more preparation of teachers who are unlikely to have much background in unit content; the second was the need for additional student materials; and the third the time required of Trust members and for general planning and logistics was a problem.
We host on-the-ground tours during the summer months and we encourage everyone from the community to attend. Our goal is to help inform community members about the surrounding open spaces on public, private, state and federal lands. We wish to share knowledge about how we can all help to make land management decisions and become involved in a dynamic collaborative process.
We address rangeland management topics and look at overall trends by bringing in different experts in the land management field. We also host private land tours for interested groups.
Everyone is welcome! Call Jeremy at (928) 523-0588 for more information or to sign up for our email alerts.
To address the preparation, material, and logistical issues presented in the early rounds of our educational programs, the Trust applied for and received a second grant from the Arizona Advisory Council on Environmental Education, which resulted in the production of an instructional video based on the field trip unit. It consists of three 15-minute segments of the following:
- the popular introductory skit; ranch stewardship; economic, governmental, legal and development threats to ranching; DT and its ranches
- healthy rangeland; causes of unhealthy rangeland; the water, mineral and energy cycles
- land ownership and rights; economics of ranching; rangeland products; landscape goals; ecological restoration; rangeland stewardship; human impacts and improvements; the role of collaborative groups
The segments are divided by one or two questions shown on the screen, followed by a pause for students to respond. The questions ask for student evaluation of what has been presented and what further information they would like.
The video was produced by the media production unit at Northern Arizona University, which filmed substantial portions on the land and created effective visual graphics used in conjunction with existing photos. The video is accompanied by a brief teacher's guide along with a copy of the video script annotated with suggestions and references to accompanying written materials. The video and materials were reviewed by seven environmental educators who judged that they are well done and achieve the objectives. Twenty copies of the video and supplements were distributed to all middle and senior high schools in the Flagstaff Unified School District.