You can’t learn Physical Geography and Environmental Science only in a classroom. It is like learning to drive a car from a book. Professor Jim Danza, Professor of Geography and Environmental Science takes his students on field trips regularly, but it is the overnight camping trips that changes lives, while giving students to chance to see and apply what they learn in the classroom and forge friendships.
During the last night of camping trips, students discuss their experience. It is the first trip out of the city for many and the first time camping. Many students report that the field trip changed their lives by giving him a direction in school after seeing what distant places are like. Two female students were told by families that they shouldn’t go to Death Valley National Park; that you will only see desert and it is better to stay home. After the trip, the students reported they made the right choice. Permanent friendships are spawned as student bond together, a community is formed, enriching campus-life.
A world of new potential pathways open up as they experience new places and see the broad-range of careers that exist. Students often meet other college students on trips and interact with Park employees. Students apply techniques and see in-person the geology, weather, and cultural landscape that they learn in Geography and Environmental Science courses. After the trip, many students affirmed their commitment to finish their major in these sciences.
Studies have shown that students don’t always recall many details from their academic instruction, but they remember the field trips and the epiphany that inspired further academic achievement.
Rainbow Gorge displays the layers of volcanic activity that defines the cold desert plateau of Eastern California.
Death Valley has unique remains of a fossilized cave interior, where white calcite crystals grew between gray dolomite. Students were able to hear a PhD dissertation on this formation presentation while in the field!
Students gain an understanding of Earths dramatic climate changes. Students inspect stones from an ancient shore line from the Pleistocene ice age, dated about 8,000 years ago.