On September 4 Canyon Elementary School students where immersed in the wonder and history of the Rancho Boca de Santa Monica and the Franciso Marquez and Ysidro Reyes family who were the original settlers of the land. First stop was a walk from the school to Hacienda Monica, the site of La Senora Research Institute which is owned and run by Patricia Nettleship.
They met Pascual Marqeuz’ son Ernie Marquez, his son Ernesto and cousin Sharon Kilbride (our Homeless Task- force hero). From them they were enthralled by stories ofhow life was back in the day and how it has evolved.
Just in time for Halloween they heard the story of how, in the 1930’s a flood washed away many headstones in the Marquez family cemetery as well as many corpses. With the help of radar and forensic canines they searched to locate the missing corpses. Later many remaining headstones were vandalized. Ernest Marquez spent many years in court fighting for the historic cemetery and fashioning new headstones for his ancestors and, this year, he was able to finally fully honor his ancestors by erecting a beautiful memorial monument commemorating their history and the lives that have affected all of us in one way or another.
Ernesto, a horticultural ex- pert, walked the grounds with the kids teaching them about all the native plants that thrive in the area. He not only point- ed out each species but en- lightened them on their significance and how they were used, from broom making to a spice for cooking.
The children then wrote letters to their hosts. As Pippa wrote “I am glad and lucky we got this field trip course.” She also wrote how she loved learning about the Rancho history, native plants the history of the Marquez cemetery and the safety talk. At the end the children received snacks, a hat and bags.
This is one field trip that these fourth graders will surely never forget.