Weather & Science Education

Inspired by the success of a presentation by the Las Vegas office of the National Weather Service (NWS) to youth in the Bishop Indian Education Center’s after school tutoring program, the Bishop Tribe’s Air Program initiated a series of weather-related educational events designed to entice an interest in science in young learners. The results over the years are testament to how much fun, curiosity, challenge and wonder young learners find in atmospheric and other earth sciences. Be sure to check out the activity newsletters under the "Library" tab above.

Balloon Day

The Las Vegas National Weather Service staff helped host a spectacular event that included launching two weather balloons, including a box attached with messages from all of the attending kids. This event, that took place in June 2009 was a cooperative effort between the Bishop and Lone Pine Tribes. The Paiute Palace Casino provided the helium and the Bishop Indian Education Center helped cook hotdogs after the demonstrations were all over. We were later surprised to receive a package from the Kings Canyon National Park staff who had found our package in July, hung up in a tree in a remote canyon at an elevation 9,600ft and approximately 50 miles South and West of the launch point. We made another quick presentation to the excited kids in September 2009.


Weather Activities with National Weather Service Meteorologists 

NWS staff have been involved in educational events on the Bishop Reservation for many years. Every year they present weather instruments and concepts to the students at the Education Center, they are impressed at how much the kids know about weather! Weather Week in 2009 was a weeklong session with learning stations including: cloud types slideshow, forecast reading, real time satellite animations at the regional, hemisphere and finally global view, and forecast animations to show how the systems that were seen on satellite were then forecast to move across the country, and finally, decorating cookies shaped like clouds and lightning bolts. This event also marked the introduction of the irrepresible propellor hats for instructors!


Fire Week

In summer 2009 Mother Nature provided another learning opportunity with a nearby lightning wildfire. A local physician contributed a series of time lapse photographs of the fire, taken at 5-minute intervals during the peak night. An employee of the nearby radio observatory had taken time lapse photographs of lightning. Bishop Environmental Management Office staff member Tom Gustie combined the two with some spectacular sound effects. The end result was Fire Week in October 2009. A viewing of this, our first foray into multimedia, for the kids was followed with a series of stations. The first explained the smoke and air quality impacts of the fire, including visibility and air quality data from the Bishop Tribe’s own monitors. Next, Walter Hanson, former staff member described his experience being evacuated from the fire and showed photographs driving through the flames. Finally, the kids were introduced to websites that show current fires and methods of forecasting fire weather.


Snow & Ice Week 

Snow and Ice Week took place in February 2010. Mother Nature cooperated with good snowfall. The first event was a day of snowshoeing near Casa Diablo Mountain, a volcanic formation that rises to a height of nearly 8,000 ft. The area is spectacular pinion and juniper forest, framed by the White Mountains rising to 14,000 feet the East and the Sierra Nevada also rising to 14,000 feet the West. The outdoors phase was followed by a classroom phase, with 5 stations inlcuding a time lapse video of recent Sierra storms arriving in Bishop, created by Tom Gustie (click arrow to watch video below), and microscope viewing of snowflakes captured by Toni Richards on chilled glass slides using superglue! Justin Raglin from the Lone Pine Environmental Program patiently showed a stream of kids how to use the microscope to see the tiny (but real) snowflakes. Next, display of an ice crystal grown in a Styrofoam cup on a piece of fishing line, by Toni Richards and Walter Hanson, who spent many hours trying to perfect the method before displaying the results. For the last station, Darla Heil, formerly with the Owens Valley Indian Water Commission, explained how avalanche conditions were formed.


Winter Weather

In November 2011, the Air Program, assisted by Environmental staff and Owens Valley Indian Water Commission, presented another series of workshops with the Bishop Indian Education Center’s after school tutoring program. The topics and activities were optical phenomena, rainbows, and interactive computer forecasting.


"EMO" (Environmental) Day Activities 

In summer 2016, the Paiute-Shoshone Cultural Center co-hosted an EMO day outside for the Education Center, along with volunteering EMO staff. The groups rotated through 4 activity stations including traditional weaving, a compass and orienteering course activity in the farmers market area, bird watching and nature observations in the COSA area, weather observations on the lawn using hand held instruments, and solar system "enactment" by the youngest kids. In 2021, EMO staff did another round of the weather and outdoor activities over 3 days at the Bishop Indian Education Center summer program, with some frisbee games added in.


Activities at Head Start, EMO Open House, FirstBloom, Earth Day and more

The Head Start and Education Center tutors and kids are no strangers to environmental and weather science with fun activties over the years including ice melting with warm water or salt, "clouds-in-a-jar", making crystals with super-saturated solution and cooled surfaces, discovering light refraction with prisms, colorful experiments with liquid surface-tension, gravitation and terminal velocity, compass oreinteering, anemometer measurements, and much more.