Sabino Canyon Nature Program For Elementary School Students   Leave a comment

One of the subjects we teach is geology, how the Santa Catalina Mountains were
formed, and the importance of water in the formation of Sabino Canyon. Twelve
million years ago, the Santa Catalina Mountains were just a range of hills, but the
earth’s crust in western North America was being stretched. What resulted were
huge blocks with steep vaults forming an up-and-down landscape called the
Basin and Range Province. 

Kenne & 3rd Grade Students-72Naturalist, Kenne Turner with 3rd Grade Students (Sabino Canyon Dam Area)
— Images by Teacher

Sabino Canyon is composed of a hard metamorphic rock called “Catalina gneiss.”
Gneiss contains rock and five minerals; quartz, mica, feldspar, magnetite, and garnets.
Over time water and earthquakes have eroded the gneiss rock carrying smaller rocks
and minerals down streams like Sabino Creek. The minerals are deposited along the
creek edges, which created a natural laboratory to learn about the minerals by panning
for garnets. Need I say, kids love panning for garnets.    

Kenne&3rd Grade Students-72Students panning for garnets in Sabino Creek.

“For many Tucsonans, the canyon is an old friend. We are on a first-name basis.
On a sunny weekend morning, we say, simply, “Let’s go to Sabino.

— from Sabino Canyon: The Life of a Southwestern Oasis by David Wentworth Lazaroff

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