Eight students from Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy (FALA) performed the student-written play, “Yellow Belly Ponderosa”, at the Flagstaff Sun Sounds of Arizona studio on May 15, 2013. Sun Sounds of Arizona is a radio reading and information access service for people who cannot read print due to a disability. Volunteers read from national and local publications, and there are also occasional radio theater productions. Gina Byars, the Flagstaff Station Manager, coordinated with Mindy Bell, Flagstaff STEM Connections Coordinator, and Mike Levin, FALA’s Theater teacher, to bring “Yellow Belly Ponderosa” to a wider audience.
Listeners will learn about scientific concepts as they hear Fox and Raven travel through the forest and learn about key messages relating to forest health and restoration through stories told by the talking trees and other animals. The Yellow Belly Ponderosa outreach program combines culture, arts and science to convey a lifelong connection to and understanding of sustainable forests, teach outdoor skills, encourage physical outdoor activity, promote interest and knowledge of the natural sciences, and connect kids with the natural world.
Curt Craig’s 6th grade team of 90 students, three teachers and a few chaperones from Mount Elden Middle School (MEMS) had a grand field day on May 2, 2013. First, they walked 4 miles via Cedar Mesa from MEMS to the Coconino County Court House where they observed court proceedings. Then, they continued on to Francis Short Pond where they conducted water quality investigations.
Chuck Benedict, of Arizona Game and Fish, has assisted Curt Craig’s classes, at both Flagstaff Middle School and now at Mount Elden Middle School, for a decade…"at the drop of a fishing hat’s notice” according to Curt.
Chuck helped Curt’s students with testing dissolved oxygen and also setting up a dark bottle/light bottle test. Students check the dissolved oxygen at the time of collection and then cover one bottle with aluminum foil and leave the other bottle open to light. Each pair of bottles has some pond life in it, and students can then compare the dissolved oxygen numbers daily between the dark and light bottles.