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On Friday, May 4, 2018, founders of the Havasi Wilderness Foundation’s, Alex Havasi and Marilyn Fordney, visited the third grade students and their teachers, Carla Hakewessell and Maricela Chaidez at Frank Del Olmo Elementary School in Los Angeles, California. While there, they also met with Vice Principal, Ruben Munoz to express their enthusiasm at meeting such engaged students as well as their appreciation of the educational opportunities given to kids at Franco Del Olmo.

Frank Del Olmo Elementary School has been taking the students to Topanga State Park as part of an educational program offered through the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains (RCDSMM) since 2008-2009 . However, this trip marked the first time that the RCDSMM arranged for Alex and Marilyn to visit the students and the school.

At the beginning of the visit, performances were given with several groups of about four or five students taking center stage in the classroom and giving presentations of what they learned during their hike. They were animated and some had memorized their parts incorporating gestures and the history of the Chumash Indians. They even interjected Chumash language for many of the animals and plants used by the Chumash. A coordinating board was put up with each presentation showing colored drawings that depicted images they drew after the field trip to Topanga State Park.

Next, a folder was presented to Alex Havasi containing thank you letters from all of the students (see images below). Each student from two third grade classes was given a Scientific Participation medal which they proudly wore.

As Alex and Marilyn were departing, the students were having a recess and two of the boys broke away from the rest of the students and came running over to give thank you hugs to Alex and Marilyn. These were touching gestures and showed true feelings of what these earned medals meant to them.

Thank you to teachers, Carla Hakewessell and Maricela Chaidez for making our visit so enjoyable and for giving us such a welcoming feeling. Your students have proved they learned a great deal during their field trip.

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