Piute Ponds, an enhanced natural marshland located on the south-west corner of Edwards Air Force Base, offers teachers and students a unique “place-based” learning environment. The ponds cover between 600-800 acres, depending on the season, and is a stop for thousands of egrets, heron and pelicans, to name just a few of the more than 200 bird species that stop here as they travel on the Pacific Flyway, a common route between the north and south. The ponds were created by a dike and are kept full by treated reclaimed water released from Lancaster’s sewage treatment plant.
Piute Ponds boasts an observation deck, shade trees, and informational signs placed along the walking path that loops around some of the ponds. A welcome sign with a map shows the route of the walking tour while six signs provide information about plants, animals and insects that inhabit the area.
Funding provided by Edwards AFB and Lockheed Martin was used to develop wetlands education kits for use in the classroom and at the ponds. The classroom kit contains track molds, a night sounds CD, bird talons display, skull replicas, casting kits, owl pellet kits, pond discovery kits, field press and dryers, and much more. The outdoors pond kit contains field microscopes, hand-held magnifiers, field guides to birds, reptiles, and insects, aquatic macrovertebrate life cycle cards, collection vials, water test kit, and scopes for use while visiting Piute Ponds. Piute Pond “place-based” curriculum lessons are currently being developed and should be available online in late fall. The activities will be in PDF format for easy downloading.
The kits are now available for teachers to check out at the MEEC Environmental Resource library located at the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District Office in Lancaster, and may be checked out individually or as a pair. For details on the kits, contact Christie Robinson at (760) 245-1661 ext 6101 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on the AVAQMD’s hours of operation, call (661) 723-8070. To arrange authorization to visit the Ponds or for more information, please contact Wanda Deal at (661) 810-9622, or email: email@example.com