This museum is top notch. I was able to experience the rain forest while in the museum and learned a lot about the ways that it is protected as well as what some it's natural protections are. In the past, I have taught about the rain forest, but have never experienced the different layers first hand. Additionally, I explored the aquarium and planetarium (where I learned about the next planet that they expect to be able to identify within the next five years - it will bring us back to 9 planets in our solar system!
Above is a link to ways to promote healthy oceans - a final reference to Dory and my time in Monterey!
It is incredibly easy to connect with nature in this beautiful spot. I became very interested in learning about the habitats of the marine life in this area, so much I did not know, so much I look forward to sharing with my students.
The amazing otters and seals that I learned about in Monterey were here, in their natural settings! After learning so much about how the aquarium works to rescue and protect otters, it was awesome to see them here, happy, in their rafts, in one of the most beautiful locations I can imagine.
Today, upon the recommendation of many along my route, I visited what I consider to be THE best aquarium in the world. Monterey Aquarium.
Today, I experienced brand new learning about John Muir. I traveled to Martinez, CA where I visited his homestead. Here are a couple of interesting facts that I what I learned about John Muir.
Day 3 in Yosemite was so amazing. When we first arrived, we parked in the Half Dome Lot (Old Camp Curry). As soon as we got out of our car, a ranger came up to us and asked us where we were headed that day. I thought, "wow....she is so helpful, giving us directions and help as soon as we got out of the car!!!"....actually, she meant more immediately, where were we headed...there was a bear in the tree right in our part of the lot. I have to say that he/she was really cute - snoozing away, looking like it was about to fall out of the tree (I did get great pictures that I will add later). So, we called the bear "seven" because many of the bears in Yosemite have been tagged with a number so they can be tracked (either via radio signal or GPS) to be sure they are staying out of harms way. In my discussions with rangers, they have a lot of fun following them to see what they do all day, every day. Apparently, certain bears have definite travel patterns, and others...not so much. Of course, I had to get a stuffed bear (marked as #7 - complete with radio signal on his neck) to go along with my awesome pictures.
What an unbelievable 2 days so far in the park. I have gotten used to the crazy windy roads and have gotten into the park early each day. Day one, we took a valley tram tour, led by a park ranger. Every bit of it was phenomenal. She shared history about the park, shared about her life in becoming a ranger (a very inspiring story of the long road it took her to find herself to get there)and best of all, she shared the park. I learned so much. One thing that stuck with me was the story of Galen Clark. He was the steadfast, true conservationist of Yosemite. As a man of 45, he was told that he had 6 months to live so he moved there to rest and relax in his last days. Well, he fell in love with the place and learned as much as he possibly could. The beautiful air must have agreed with him, because he lived to be over 90 years old! In that time (50 years!), he researched and shared his knowledge with everyone he could and began the preservation of the park.
So, I have arrived in beautiful Yosemite! The flights were on time and perfect - Oakland traffic was crazy - but then, true California opened up in front of me. Windmills everywhere! Cattle, everywhere...and boy it is hot (105). As I got closer to Yosemite, the hills went from rolling to mountainous, and the drive went from easy to harrowing! I am generally ok with heights, but the road up to Yosemite was white knuckle driving to say the least. Straight drop offs with no guard rails. At the top of the mountains though, it became cooler and everything smelled like pine. Stunning!