2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM


HAYNIE, Stacey and HOFFOWER, Heidi L., Stewardship Education & Visitor Services, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, 25 Permian Dr, Carlsbad, NM 88220, stacey_haynie@nps.gov

Located in the Guadalupe Mountains on the fringe of the Delaware Basin, a region with unique biologic and geologic features, Carlsbad Caverns National Park has promoted science education through its participation in the National Parks Labs Program with the Chihuahuan Desert Lab (CDL). While the CDL provides projects in biology, botany, hydrology, and GIS technology, both in local high schools and on the internet, none of its projects include geologic investigations. Supported by the National Park Service “Geologist-in-the-Parks” program, a high school level curriculum is being developed emphasizing the regional geology and cavern formation. Built upon the CDL framework, it is our hopes that this curriculum will not only benefit those students in the park’s immediate area but also will be available as an online teaching module.

In order to meet this broad student audience, the lessons will include field trips to the Permian strata and caverns in conjunction with hands-on, introductory college-style laboratories to provide background geologic concepts. For example, lessons on the region’s Permian geography, complete with field and map exercises, are paired with general laboratory activities on plate tectonics and Pangea in order to give the students an overall understanding of global mechanics and Permian geography. The Carlsbad Caverns lessons will build upon the CDL’s existing hydrology unit by placing cave water chemistry into a regional groundwater framework and allowing students to investigate changes in cavern geochemistry through time. It is through these processes that this curriculum should provide not only an understanding of the regional geology of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, but also a general understanding of geologic history and processes.