Early morning light winks off the ocean as an archaeologist, nine student reporters from Etiwanda High School, two teachers, a journalist mentor, and two National Park Rangers gather on the Ventura dock, ready to board the ferry to Santa Rosa Island, the most remote part of Channel Islands National Park.
The group is abuzz.
“It’s my first time on a boat.”
“I really hope to see an island fox today!”
“You have the camera? I’ve got the monopods!”
After two months of pitching concepts, researching sources, developing the story, writing questions and finalizing shotlists, our Student Reporters from Rancho Cucamonga’s Etiwanda High School have four hours on Santa Rosa to interview scientists about recent discoveries on the island while gathering footage for their story. They can hardly wait to dive into conversations with their primary sources- Channel Islands Ranger Laura Kirn and longtime archaeologist Don Morris.
Their story is part of PBS Newshour Student Reporting Labs’ STEM initiative. Inspired by the National Park Service centennial and the goal of getting students outside, Etiwanda students and young journalists across the nation have embarked on journeys to cover news stories in dozens of our National Parks.
Here’s more from their day of adventure at Channel Islands National Park:
An introduction from Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Russell Galipeau, who asks about some of their background research on the island fox, and reminds them that the national parks are places of discovery.
Archaeologist Don Morris boards the ferry for the umpteenth time in his career. He helped to discover a mammoth skull on Santa Rosa, and spent years researching and exploring on the island. “There are lifetimes-worth of discoveries here,” he says.
Etiwanda senior Martita UrenoDeArias stakes out a prime spot on the bow of the boat en route to Santa Rosa Island.
Arriving on Santa Rosa ready to b-roll!
“Yep, I came all the way out here to listen and say, ‘sounds good!’” Junior Ty Kolslowski helps Don get set up with a mic.
Keala Naipo and Martita, leading the interviews for today, make a few last minute adjustments to their notes and questions as the crew sets up.
Mentor Peggy Pico works with students to prep the interview sites.
The team interviewing Ranger Laura Kirn
The team hikes to a remote riverbed (similar in topography to the place where the mammoth skull was discovered) for their next interview with Don.
Getting in a few nature-glamour shots with Ranger Laura!
#Feels at the end of the day.