My name is Yanira Ortiz and I am the current CVA at Chamizal  National Memorial, located in El Paso, Texas, along the US/Mexico border. It commemorates a peaceful resolution between the two countries and celebrates the two cultures as well.

As we continue celebrating the national parks centennial and Chamizal’s 50th birthday, the park has been very supportive of the Every Kid in a Park Initiative and it has been integrated into a three-part program; EKIAP presentation, Chamizal academy, and a field trip.

First,we go out to the elementary schools and talk to the 4th grades about the national parks, a little bit of history about Chamizal National Memorial and explain to them the rules of the program. We also present them with the vouchers,so that they can exchange them when they visit any national park.

Secondly, and perhaps my favorite part is that we bring the kids into the park to participate in the Chamizal Academy. The academy’s curriculum was designed by the education specialist, it teaches 4th graders what to take when they go hiking, camping, etc., what stuff they have at home that can be used to make a bedroll, how to build a shelter, and to tie knots that are used to safely secure their stuff. At the end of the program, we exchange their vouchers for the 4th grade passes.

Then we take them on a field trip to nearby national and state parks; Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, and Dripping Spring in New Mexico. Rangers from the parks lead a 2 mile hike or nature walk and, teach the children about the park and its environment. It has been a great experience for me and the kids, and I think they are having a good time as well.

I hope everyone is having a great time !!