Do you remember the first time you saw a tide pool?
With a grin I tell the students on my screen, “How about we see what the tide pools look like under water?” I click my radio and signal to our volunteer in the pools. The screen changes. Students can now see waves splashing gently on the jagged rocks throughout the Rosario tide pools. Slowly the camera begins to dip below the water and I hear quiet gasps from a few students who forgot to mute their computers. An underwater world full of aggregating anemones, sea lettuce, and barnacles is now visible. For this group of 2nd graders from Spokane, Washington, it is their first-time seeing tide pools and I hope it won’t be their last.
This Fall, the Interpretive Team at Deception Pass State Park, launched a brand-new virtual field trip of the Rosario tide pools. With the goal to awaken curiosity and encourage tide pool stewardship, staff have developed a fun filled program for K-5th grade. In partnership with Microsoft’s Skype in the Classroom platform, staff have connected with over 700 students from all over the United States and Canada. During the program, and depending on age, students learn about state parks, tide pool habitats and adaptations, and get the opportunity to virtually explore underwater. So far, the programs have been very well received and we are excited to continue offering programs for as long as the weather allows.
The Interpretive Team would like to thank the Foundation and its members for their generous support of interpretation in the park. Programs, such as the virtual field trips at Rosario would not be possible without support. It has been of dream for many years to offer virtual field trips and it is exciting to see this dream become a reality!
As we continue into the winter, the Interpretive Team is looking for ways additional ways to expand. We are more than happy to teach students about a wide variety of topics related to Deception Pass such as dune habitats, animal adaptations, Civilian Conservation Corps connections to Washington State Parks, Deception Pass State Park’s fascinating history, and more. If you, or a teacher you know, is interested setting up a virtual program please do not hesitate to contact Joy Kacoroski, firstname.lastname@example.org or (360)657-3767 ext. 231.