MM Students Take Field Trip to Alaskan Rainforest
Impossible Possibilities (IP) co-founder Joshua Hernandez took students on a visual field trip to the Alaskan rainforest on March 11, 2016, through the organization’s Maven’s Milestones Program (MM).
MM is an incentive-based reading achievement program with more than 1,500 students participating at four Fort Worth ISD elementary schools. The program rewards students for reaching each of “Maven the Raven’s Milestones:” Ascent, Afterburner, Approach and Call Sign Maven. Each milestone represents a specific number of points that the students earn by reading books and passing online quizzes.
Hernandez presented to fourth and fifth graders at Cesar Chavez, Washington Heights, Woodway and Van-Zandt Guinn elementary schools. The discussion focused on Hernandez’ July 2005 trip to Haines, Alaska, where he spent 30 days conducting field research in and around the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. Hernandez took the trip to complete his first fiction novel, entitled, Maven the Raven: Tree of Life, which features the main character for which the reading program was named.
The Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve consists of 48,000 acres of river bottom lands established by the state of Alaska in 1982 to protect what has become the largest congregation of bald eagles in the world. Resident eagles total upward of 400 year round; however, when the salmon runs begin in the fall and winter, the population of eagles on the Chilkat can swell upward of 4,000.
Hernandez showed the students pictures of his excursion, including pictures of bald eagles, brown bears and humpback whales. He also discussed the importance of wildlife diversity and explained the effects of climate change on the area’s glaciers.
“I love being able to teach these students about the world that exists outside the inner city,” Hernandez said. “It’s important for them to know that these places do exist and that each of us has a responsibility to preserve them for future generations.”