With virtual classes in session and outdoor social activities restricted, the only hike happening at home is the trek from the couch to the fridge, but the Campus Recreation Adventures Team has launched a series of free virtual national park tours, ensuring participants are “cultivating their outdoor spirit” straight from their living rooms.
Through the ASI Portal, prospective adventurers had the opportunity to experience guided virtual tours of national parks like Yosemite and Yellowstone — all from the comfort of their own homes.
Adventure Education Coordinator Ian Navarro explained that the goal of the Adventures Team is to inspire individuals to participate in rejuvenating activities and experience the rewards outdoor activities can bring.
“Our hope is that by hosting these virtual tours we can assist students in the process of researching and identifying new places and experiences that can help to support and even define their experience at Cal Poly Pomona,” Navarro said.
The tours, facilitated over Zoom, guided viewers through the history of the featured park, displayed the most popular attractions and aided in the development of technical outdoor skills. Participants were also educated on how to remain safe when traveling to national parks during the current pandemic.
With presentations using Google Earth, participants enjoy the virtual experience of the national park and presented with popular lookout spots, hiking trails and even lodging selections.
First-year mathematics graduate student Nikita Campos attended the virtual tour of Yellowstone National Park on Sept. 24.
Campos appreciated the extensive research demonstrated in the tour and believed the participant interaction created an enjoyable experience. “It is something you can enjoy just from your living room,” Campos said. “I would definitely recommend it.”
By using the chat feature on Zoom, participants had the opportunity to interact directly with members of the Adventures Team. In addition to a detailed tour, adventure supervisors actively provided links and information in the chat to further educate viewers and answer any questions.
“I really look forward to giving everyone the knowledge they need to get to these spots and giving the knowledge they need to be safe,” said Marshall Fielding, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student and adventure supervisor.
Fielding believes the virtual tours are a way for participants to feel as though they are not in a foreign place when visiting these national parks. By learning the importance of best visitor practices, like the “Leave No Trace” principles, viewers can develop and be confident in their outdoor skills.
Though the national park tours have ended for the fall semester, the Adventures Team is hosting free programs on wilderness survival, injury prevention and important outdoor skills — with upcoming virtual events scheduled for October. Nonetheless, the virtual tours are scheduled to return in the spring.
For additional information, visit its website at www.asi.cpp.edu/campusrec/programs/adventures/adventures-virtual-programs/.
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