El Malpais National Monument Student Learning Project

The National Park Foundation partnered with El Malpais National Monument to engage students in historical, cultural, and natural park education.

El Malpais means "the badlands" but contrary to its name this unique area holds many surprises, many of which researchers are now unraveling. Volcanic features such as lava flows, cinder cones, pressure ridges and complex lava tube systems dominate the landscape. Closer inspection reveals unique ecosystems with complex relationships. Sandstone bluffs and mesas border the eastern side, providing access to vast wilderness.

This park partnered with the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts (a local and community-based organization) and Richmond High School (a Title 1 school) to develop a sustainable curriculum and service-learning model that weaves the historical and cultural importance of Eugene O'Neill's works at Tao House into student learning.

Students connected to the park, grew their awareness of the plays and themes central to O'Neill's work, and finally performed extracts & contemporary adaptations of O'Neill's work in a public performance and video installation.