Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer School

 Summer school was in session this past week in southern Snake Valley, with quite a few kids attending. They worked on some school topics, had recess, snack, and then a special presentation each day.

 For one presentation, a student was turned into a spider with eight legs, eight eyes, and special mouthparts called chelicerae, which deliver the digestive juices into the prey so that the spider actually starts eating its meal before it even ingests it.

 Then it was time for the students to take turns being flies. They tried to get through the spider's web without vibrating the strands, which would alert the spider of a nearby meal.

 It was tricky!

 All on their own, the kids located a spider web and spider outside on the school building.

 Then it was on to playground physics, learning about gravity, momentum, and friction. Above, a magazine and a cardboard box are being tested to see which has the least amount of friction. The students repeated the experiments several times (well, enough so they could all go down the slide!) to decide the winner and see if their hypothesis was correct.

 Then it was time for more friction experiments to see which round object would reach the bottom first.

It was hot, but it was a fun day! Thanks to all who helped make summer school a great time!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Snake Valley Summer Reading Program

 The Snake Valley Summer Reading Program is about to kick off, with the first session on Tuesday, June 25 at 7 pm (NV) at the Baker Community Center. This is a new program to encourage kids to keep reading throughout the summer to avoid the summer brain drain.

We've partnered with White Pine County Library's summer reading program, so young readers (ages 2-10) will receive a free book for participating. Also, the top weekly reader in each age group (ages 2-4, 5-7, and 8-10) will have their name entered in the final raffle prize drawing, to be held August 9 at the Library.

Since it's hard for a lot of people in Snake Valley to get to the WPC Library on a regular basis, we've asked for donations and have had over 200 books donated to form our own lending library. We're very excited about this opportunity for kids to be able to check out books on a weekly basis. Thanks so much to all the donors! (And we're still accepting books if you have any you'd like to go to a good cause.)

Our Tuesday reading programs will consist of story time, with different readers each week, followed by checking out books, a little one-on-one reading time for anyone who would like it, and then playground time. This is going to be a fun reading program!
Come check it out!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Thanks for a Great Snake Valley Festival

 The fifth annual Snake Valley Festival was held this last weekend, and it was a lot of fun. Delicious food, great activities, and terrific community spirit attracted a good-sized crowd. It's great seeing families out enjoying themselves. In addition, thousands of dollars were raised for the Great Basin Water Network (GBWN), which is helping to protect Snake Valley from being dewatered by the SNWA Pipeline project. That money is used to pay attorney's fees as GBWN challenges the Nevada State Engineer's ruling (see more about that here).

A huge thanks to everyone who came (it was great to see new faces this year!), participated, donated, and made this community event such a good time. Check out the Festival page for more photos and the Thank You list. And save June 20-22, 2014 for next year's Festival!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Snake Valley Festival Starts Today!

The Snake Valley Festival starts today with the delicious ice cream social! Don't miss out on this great summertime treat with time to talk to your neighbors and meet new folks. Special this year is live music from EskDale musicians during the social.

Check out the rest of the schedule at:

Items still needed for the yard sale (drop off between 7-8 am Saturday), the live auction (drop off before 9 am Saturday), the pie sale (drop off by 9 am Saturday) and the bake sale (drop off by 9 am Sunday at the Border Inn). Also, you can still be part of the parade, just line up at 9:45 am Saturday at the Sinclair gas station. Volunteers needed for the Snake Valley Slither on Sunday.

Most of all, come and have some fun! See you there!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Great Basin Quarter

Here's something a little different: the Great Basin quarter. Haven't seen it yet? That's because the grand unveiling will be next week, June 20, at a special event by the U.S. Mint at Great Basin National Park. Featured on the quarter is a Great Basin bristlecone, the oldest known single organism in the world (they've been dated to over 5,000 years!). Here's more info.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Junior Paleontologists

Over the past year, the kids at Garrison Elementary School have been working on their Junior Paleontologist badge from the National Park Service. (You can download the book here.) This is a free program, but it takes a bit of work. So about every month, the kids did different activities from the booklet and learned about how fossils are made, what paleontologists do and what kind of tools they use, different creatures that lived in different times, and more.
 For one activity, they made fake fossils by creating impressions in some home-made playdough. They had a chance to be creative and decide what they would make.

For the last session, a real paleontologist came to the class. He did a great explanation of geologic time by having the kids envisioning that the room was filling with water. As he raised his hand to show where the water was, the kids raised their hands.

 The water kept getting deeper and deeper as the earth aged, but even at the height above their heads, there were no fossils. The fossil record didn't start until just a couple feet from the ceiling. Now that's a different time scale!

 Once we got into the fossil record, Gorden had some fossils to show, and the kids loved taking a look.

Then came the fun part: all the kids received their Junior Paleontologist badges, complete with a dinosaur on it.
Most national park units have their own Junior Ranger program, but this is one that is nationwide and can be done anywhere. We have great paleontological resources in Snake Valley, and now the kids know a little more about what used to live here and how it has been preserved.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


 On the last week of school, Teresa Conrad brought her EskDale physics class to Great Basin National Park. They looked at differences in water quality and streamflow between a spring and a stream. Then the real fun began: electrofishing. First Mark and Jon got out the multimeter to explain how the electrofisher worked.

 Then it was time for the students to get in the stream and take their turn capturing fish that were stunned by the electrical shock.

They learned about proper net placement.

 They caught quite a few fish!

I don't think any of them guessed there were that many fish in a 50 m stretch of stream.

It was a perfect activity for the end of the school year, with great weather.