arks Online Resources for Teachers and Students

Bringing plein air art to the classroom via live digital video.

These photos are from a recent P.O.R.T.S. project that took place at Crystal Cove State Park. Click on images for a closer view and information.

During this P.O.R.T.S. event, a live video of a plein air painter Simon Purll was broadcast to the classroom, where students could observe the artist as he worked and ask questions along the way. Students then did their own plein air paintings, and were later able to have their work critiqued by the artist via live video.

Distance Learning With California State Parks

California’s state parks and its schools have worked closely together for many years to protect our extraordinary natural and cultural resources and to educate our children. Field trips to state parks have been a favorite educational experience for generations of California’s school children. However, an ever-increasing percentage of students are not afforded this traditional experience.

More and more students are living in urban areas where distance or economic and social barriers prevent them from experiencing the values of the California State Parks. Budget issues make it difficult for schools throughout the state to visit parks. In response to these situations, the California State Parks has initiated the Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students (PORTS) program.

PORTS is a collaborative effort between public schools and California State Parks. By using the Digital California Project (a high speed network connecting California’s public schools) PORTS is able to deliver live presentations to classrooms from parks throughout the state. PORTS also provides fully developed units of study that furnish support, structure, preparation, and follow-up for these live presentations.

PORTS allows rangers to look directly into the eyes of children and engage them in conversation as the students sit in their classrooms and study science, history, language arts and other academic content standards. This program allows students access to park experts regardless of their geographic location or economic status. Never before in the history of public education has such a diverse array of students had such equal access to the vast and inspiring resources of the California State Parks.