DELANO, Calif. -
"You've been studying the California Gold Rush, is that true?," a class of fourth graders from Delano's Nueva Vista Language Academy were asked this morning.
"Yes!" they enthusiastically responded.
The students left their classroom and books behind this morning, in exchange for a sunny day in Hart Park and a golden learning opportunity.
"We are discovering how to find gold by digging," Heber Bernal, a fourth grader from Nueva Vista, said.
The students were hosted by the Golden Valley Prospectors, which has offered hands-on learning experiences for 6-years now to schools facing cash-strapped times.
"A lot of them have their budget cuts where they can't afford to go do stuff like this other places and we offer it for free," Adolph Lostaunau said.
Lostaunau is the the vice president of the Golden Valley Prospectors.
For some of these students this was the first time they had seen the element in its pure form.
"They think think it comes from Walmart of the jewelry store," Lostaunau said.
But the students definitely had a good time being prospectors for a day and seeing where gold really comes from.
"It's fun," Jennifer Padin said. "It is good touching and getting gold and finding gold."
While panning for gold - the day also came with some warnings.
The students heard about how when prospecting close to the river's edge there can be dangerous moments -especially if the ground is uneven or not completely solid.
The prospectors teamed up with the Kern County Sheriffs Search and Rescue unit to teach these kids the dangers of the river.
"They had some good questions and hopefully we can get a little message to them to be a little safe around the river and not to jump around," said Aaron Lyman a captain with the search and rescue unit.