Archive for the ‘Strike It Rich’ Tag

Panning For Garnets   Leave a comment

Thursday Elementary January 24, 2019-11-Infrared-72Students Panning For Garnets In Sabino Creek — Infrared Image by kenne

One of the programs taught by Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists to elementary
school children is geology called “Strike It Rich.” They learn how the Santa Catalina
Mountains were formed and the minerals contained in the “gneiss” rock.
The primary
activity is panning for garnets (sand rubies) in Sabino Creek.
The students uncovered the link between the towering granite cliffs
above the Tucson Basin and all that lies below.

— kenne

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

Sabino Canyon Children’s Program — “Strike It Rich”   2 comments

Panning for Garnets — Images by kenne (Click On Any Of The Images To See A Slideshow)

One of the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist’s programs is Strike It Rich. This program is designed to teach elementary school students about the geology of the Santa Catalina Mountains, which include panning for garnets is the Sabino Canyon creek.


Panning For Sand Rubies In Sabino Canyon Creek   2 comments

Spring Flowers  (1 of 1)-9 strike it rich blog framePanning For Sand Rubies (Garnets) In Sabino Canyon Creek — Image by kenne

One of the programs Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) teach is, “Strike It Rich,” in which elementary students pan for garnets. The program focuses on geology; students learn how the Santa Catalina Mountains were formed and the minerals that are in them. The minerals are easily identifiable in the sands near the creek, making panning a fun and exciting activity.


Panning For Garnets In The Canyon After The Rain   4 comments

image003 kenne & 3rd gradersIn front of Sabino Dam.

image004 kenne & 3rd gradersAbove Sabino Dam

kenne &3rd gradersPointing to a Cooper’s hawk nest.

Kenne & 3rd Graders image008 blogKenne with a fellow naturalist, Dave showing five 3rd grade girls how to pan — Images by Darcy McCue (Parent)

Low hanging clouds still draped the canyon.

Overnight rains had ended.

Cold temperatures chilled the morning air.

Excited third-graders walk to Sabino Canyon Center.

No busing from the nearby school.

Gestured to a group of five girls to tag along.

Teachable moments abound the mile and a half to Sabino Creek. 

Questions increase over the creek activity, “Strike It Rich.”

The teacher had prepared the students well.

First, nature walk near the creek.

Examined the five minerals found in Catalina Gneiss —

Quartz, feldspar, garnet, magnetite, and mica.

Using the mineral’s colors, began jiving —

“Two white, one red, one black, one shiny.”

After the nature walk, a brief geology lesson —

What made the canyon what it is today.

Lesson done, it was time for panning.

Students were sure they would find gold.

Not so in “them there mountains.”

Panning for sand rubies (garnets) was the game.

Activity completed with no cold, wet feet —

Only cold parents standing watch.

Another fun day in Sabino Canyon.

(Moral: Don’t expect cold, wet weather to dampen the spirits of 3rd graders in the canyon.)

— kenne

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