Junior Naturalist Program


TeacherŐs Packet


Desert Discovery Center

831 Barstow Rd. Barstow, CA 92311

(760) 252-6060






--Jr. Naturalist Program Overview


--Teacher and student expectations: What to bring


--Evaluation Forms


--Student Roster


--Thank You!


--Pre and Post Activities





Dear Teacher,                                                                                    


We here at the Discovery center are excited to have your classroom joining us for our day program on _______________ at _____________ for the ____________________and____________________ programs.  Your students will be participating in an environment-based education program that has been developed to enhance learning, motivate students, and build quality citizens.  This program is sponsored by the Desert Discovery Center (DDC), which is comprised of a unique partnership between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service, Barstow Unified School District, Barstow Community College, Mojave River Valley Museum, City of Barstow, Southern California Edison, Off Limits Design, Mojave Desert and Mountain Recycyling and Main St Murals. 


The intent of this program is to provide experiential education regarding the role of the Mojave Desert and other natural resources in a studentŐs life. This format gives students the opportunity to gain awareness of their connection to the bigger picture.  The goal to make this experience enjoyable and fun for all involved is a pertinent aspect of our program as well. California State Curriculum Standards will be met in many ways and it has been our mission to make our program one that is adapted to these already important classroom standards.


Most classes are held at the DDC located at 831 Barstow Rd.  The Center and its surrounding eleven acres are owned by the BLM Barstow Field Office.  The DDC has various displays regarding the desert--as a home to wildlife, wild plants and people of past and present--making for a great classroom.  The center also has access to the out of doors and room for varying activities, experiments and much more.  The DDC is open from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and it is always encouraged that teachers or students come for a visit.


Below is an example of a typical visit the center:

9:15-students arrive at center, receive an orientation of the grounds and our teachers introduce themselves as well as share expectations for their visit.

9:30-Students then are divided into two groups and go with their respective teachers for an exciting lesson lasting approximately 1½ to 2 hours.

11:30-Lunch break! We will visit the park across the way. The student will get to practice recycling, composting and leaving a place nicer than it was found.

12:30- StudentŐs will rotate to the lesson they had not yet experienced.

2-2:15- Students review what lessons from DDC can be used in their lives and our staff wave goodbye as they load onto the bus and return to the schoolyard.


The center can accommodate a group of no more than 60 students.              We always look forward to a visit and will see you soon.  Please do not hesitate to call with any questions.                 




DDC Education Director      



Teacher, Chaperone, and Student information


To whom it may concern:  It is very important that with the time allotted for this adventure that it is used to its greatest potential benefit for the student and teacher.  Below is a list of items to have and some suggestions for preparation.


á      Please provide a student roster—first and last name and number of students.  Please provide this information to the DDC as soon as possible.

á      If there is any sort of concerns regarding students or staff it is imperative that it is brought to our attention.  Please feel free to communicate any comments positive or negative, as it will help for a grander production of future programs.

á      All students should bring a sack lunch and perhaps allow them a snack before arriving at the DDC to keep stomachs settled until lunchtime.

á      All students should be advised to bring a full water bottle and keep it with them at all times.

á      When returning to the DDC after lunch a bathroom and water fill up is advisable.  (There are water fountains at the Center for refilling.)

á      We request that there be at least one chaperone for every 10 children.

á      Chaperones and teachers would benefit from informing children before arrival that even though they may not be within the walls of a school building they are still advised to treat the place and teachers respectfully.

á      Adults need to lead by example during their time here and any assistance in keeping studentŐs attentive is greatly appreciated.

á      Please bring evaluation form to class to provide comment while there.

á      Positive attitudes around excited children are helpful for all parties involved and are always advised.







SCHOOL______________________________________GRADE LEVEL____________




What do you feel was the least beneficial part of the class?_________________________



What do you feel was the most beneficial part of the class?________________________




What may you have done to make the class more attractive for students?______________




Did you feel well informed about what to expect? _______________________________


Would you recommend this program to other teachers? Why or why not? ____________




Would you like to continue some of these lessons in the classroom if activities and lessons were provided to you?_______________________________________________


Were there any logistical problems?___________________________________________

What was your overall experience of the program?_______________________________ ________________________________________________________________________


COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS_________________________________________








NAME (last, first)






















































































To Whom it May Concern:


We at the DDC believe that the Jr. Naturalist Program will cultivate a learning process that will increase studentŐs knowledge and awareness about the Mojave Desert environment and its associated challenges as a home.  We appreciate your support and participation in this experience.


Our goal is that as these students advance through these courses that explicitly address knowledge and skills in the sciences and environment—while providing repeated opportunities to apply those skills—that they will develop a deep appreciation for their surrounding desert.  Their desire will be to further their education and return to their desert home to give back to the community and to help educate others to become responsible stewards of the earth.


If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at the listing below.  We are continually looking for people to assist in further program development and delivery.  If this is of interest to you, please contact us as well.  Again, thank you very much for your support and we look forward to having your class in the future.






Jane Laraman-Brockhurst

DDC Education and Programs Director


Desert Discovery Center

831 Barstow Rd.

Barstow, CA 92311

(760) 252-6060

(760) 252-6011








Pre and Post activities for Jr. Naturalist Program


Gold Rush pre and post activities



Paleontology pre and post activities



  • Desert Tortoise pre and post activities

Desert Tortoise Council

P.O. Box 2910

San Bernardino, California 92406

(818) 501-5219


  • Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee

P.O. Box 2910

San Bernardino, California 92406

(818) 501-5219



Adaptation Pre and Post activities


Ecology pre and post activities


History of the desert pre and post activities


Geology pre and post activities


Hydrology pre and post activities


Archaeology pre and post activities


Botany pre and post activities


Invasive Weeds pre and post activities


Natural Resource Conservation pre and post activities


Organics and Agriculture pre and post activities


Nutrition/Fitness pre and post activities

  • http://msteacher.org/epubs/science/science5/lessons.aspx