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11/27/2012 5:00:00 PM
First Solar treats students to desert tour
At Joshua Tree National Park, students and volunteers took a scenic bus tour of the Cholla Cactus Garden on their way to White Tank where they hiked through the park’s extensive granite rock formations and learned about geology and desert wildlife.
At Joshua Tree National Park, students and volunteers took a scenic bus tour of the Cholla Cactus Garden on their way to White Tank where they hiked through the park’s extensive granite rock formations and learned about geology and desert wildlife.
Special to the Times


JOSHUA TREE -More than 100 students in grades kindergarten through 8th from rural communities in Nevada and California, visited Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park from Oct. 16 to 19, exploring the area's unique desert ecosystem through National Park Trust's (NPT) nationally recognized environmental education program.

For the majority of these students, this was their first national park experience.

Earlier this year, NPT received a $48,000 grant from First Solar to implement the NPT environmental education program in four rural schools: Baker Elementary School (Baker, Calif.), Eagle Mountain School (Desert Center, Calif.), Sandy Valley Elementary School (Jean, Nev.) and Del Sur Elementary School (Lancaster, Calif.).

"We greatly appreciate the generous support from First Solar that has made it possible to welcome students from Baker, Sandy Valley and Eagle Mountain Elementary School into NPT's Buddy Bison school program this year," said Grace Lee, executive director, National Park Trust. "This partnership exemplifies First Solar's commitment to educating children, especially those from underserved communities about sustainability, the unique ecosystems of Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park, 'green' career opportunities and healthy outdoor recreation."

During the park trips, the students participated in environmental learning activities, which offered valuable information about sustainability, geology and STEM concepts. At the 1.6 million-acre Mojave National Preserve, Baker and Sandy Valley students were greeted by volunteers from First Solar and embarked on ranger-led hikes at one of the largest sand dunes in the United States (Kelso Dunes) and to the Teutonia Peak Trail, which is home to the densest population of Joshua Trees in the world.

At Joshua Tree National Park, students and volunteers took a scenic bus tour of the Cholla Cactus Garden on their way to White Tank where they hiked through the park's extensive granite rock formations and learned about geology and desert wildlife.

"This is my best day ever and I will never forget it!" said an Eagle Mountain student as he stood atop a rock overlooking Joshua Tree National Park.

First Solar associates supporting the company's Silver State South, Desert Sunlight and Stateline solar projects have been working closely with NPT to participate in these trips and will continue to provide volunteer support as well as supplemental educational resources to the students throughout the school year.

"We are excited to support the work that National Park Trust is doing to help create the next generation of park stewards and educate children on the importance of sustainability and solar energy," said Laura Abram, First Solar director of Sustainability and Community Affairs.

The Buddy Bison school program has garnered attention from Department of the Interior's Youth in the Great Outdoors initiative and First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative. The program was established to cultivate the park stewards of tomorrow and to promote healthy living through increased activity.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: Tyler McMillin

@Is a Crazy Town
The Blythe schools did not participate, however, because the participating schools are elementary schools of small towns located around Joshua Tree National Park. The Eagle Mountain school of Desert Center is the one that is necessary for the story to be here, since those students has to go the high school in Blythe.


Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012
Article comment by: Is a Crazy Town

Why didn't any of Blythe schools participate?
Or where they not asked?


Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: Crazy Town

I love this...Thanks First Solar!



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