Thursday, January 28, 2010

"We Remember Roberto" The story of Roberto Clemente from Edcon Publishing.

Not just baseball fans will remember the great Roberto Clemente. Places you will read about: "Puerto Rico", an island southeast of the United States. "Nicaragua", the largest country in Central America.

Things you will read about: "danzas", a lively type of music that tells of the happiness and sadness of the Puerto Rican people. "National League", one of the two big baseball leagues in the United States.

Most of the people in the small town of Carolina in Puerto Rico were out in the streets, dancing to gay Spanish music and setting off fireworks. It was New Year's Eve, a time for celebration.
At about four o'clock in the morning, the few people who were still in their homes came out. But it wasn't to join the celebration. With horror on their faces, they sobbed the news:
"The radio just announced I that Roberto's plane has crashed into the sea!" Roberto Clemente was dead.

Puerto Rico had lost its national hero. Baseball had lost one of its greatest stars. And the world had lost a generous, loving man who had spent many years helping others.

How far Roberto had come from the time he was a skinny boy hitting tin cans with a broomstick on a dusty Carolina street! He was a quiet, shy boy in school. And how he enjoyed listening to records of Puerto Rico's native music, the danzas.

But out on an athletic field, the quiet, shy boy turned into a fiery player. He was an excellent high jumper, and he could throw and hit a softball great distances. The school's athletic coaches recognized sixteen year-old Roberto's unusual talent and encouraged him to make baseball his future.

After four years with teams in Puerto Rico, Roberto's unusual talent came to the attention of the big league baseball clubs in the United States. In 1954, he was hired by the Pittsburgh Pirates, a last place team. Roberto soon changed it into a winning one.

Roberto's hitting thrilled the Pittsburgh fans. He could hit any kind of pitch thrown to him - inside, outside, or down the middle. Pitchers nearly went crazy trying to figure out what kind of pitch he couldn't hit. In his eighteen years with the Pirates, he collected 3,000 hits; a record held by only ten other men before him in the history of baseball.

In the outfield, Roberto amazed everyone with his throwing arm, an arm that frightened runners on every base. After all, he led the National League five times in throwing base runners out. And how his catches thrilled the fans! Roberto ran into walls and fences. He dove into the stands. He fell flat on his stomach. He did all this to make catches that seemed impossible.
Off the field, Roberto spent much of his free time 'working with children. During the winter months, he would return to Puerto Rico and talk to them. He talked about sports, and about being good citizens, and about respecting one's parents.

But Roberto wanted to do more than talk. Roberto had a dream, the dream of building a "Sports City" to benefit the children of Puerto Rico. At Sports City, children would play on the best fields, use the best athletic equipment, and learn from the best coaches. And they would learn to be good citizens. It would cost over two million dollars to build, but it would be free for children.

Sports City became Roberto's life dream. But an earthquake in the Central American country of Nicaragua prevented Roberto from making his dream come true. The earthquake, in December 1972, hit Nicaragua's capital city. Roberto had made many friends there just a few months earlier when the team from Puerto Rico, that he was managing, played the team from Nicaragua's capital in a "little world series."

Roberto immediately began a drive to collect food, clothing, and medicine to benefit the victims of the earthquake. He went on radio to appeal for money. He went from door to door appealing for help. Soon, $150,000 plus tons of supplies were collected. It was time to send them to Nicaragua. Roberto spent hours at the airport helping to load the big, four-engine plane. Then, at the last minute, he decided to go along. He wanted to make sure that the supplies reached the victims who needed them most desperately .

Moments later Roberto kissed his wife and three sons good-bye, the heavy plane took off from an airport in Puerto Rico. It climbed slowly in the darkness, banking to the left. Then it suddenly crashed into the ocean.

As word spread over the island, thousands of people lined the beaches, watching in horror as boats, planes, and divers searched the heavy seas. Several hours later, the wreck was discovered a mile and a half from shore, buried in 100 feet of water. The pilot's body was found, but Roberto had disappeared without a trace.

In memory of Roberto, tearful people took down their holiday ornaments. They replaced them with black flags. In memory of Roberto, radio stations kept their regular programs from the air. They played only the danzas Roberto had loved so much.

And in memory of Roberto, baseball fans all over the world started raising money. They wanted to make his dream of Sports City come true. By March 1975, more than $500,000 had been raised, and building began. The dream that Roberto couldn't make come true during his lifetime is coming true after his death. Although he is gone, his dream will help others. Through the Roberto Clemente Sports City, the memory of the man who gave everything, including his life, lives on.


1. The people of Carolina learned of Roberto's death _______________ .
a. in the newspapers
b. over the radio
c. from his athletic coaches
d. from his wife

2. As a boy in school, Roberto was _______________ .
a. quiet and shy
b. a national hero
c. the class clown
d. a big bully

3. Pitchers had trouble pitching to Roberto because _______________ .
a. he was so short
b. he never stood still
c. he hit all kinds of pitches
d. he was very careful

4. Roberto's strong arm made it easy for him to _______________ .
a. to fight with other players
b. to throw balls to fans in the stands
c. to throw base runners out
d. to run into walls and fences

5. Roberto was the kind of baseball player who _______________ .
a. was interested in setting records
b. wouldn't help anyone learn the game
c. was always afraid of getting hurt
d. gave everything he had to the game

6. Roberto's life dream was __________________ .
a. to be the best player on the Pittsburgh Pirates
b. to build a Sports City for children
c. to leave Puerto Rico forever
d. to discover why earthquakes happened

7. Roberto's plane crashed _______________ .
a. at an airport in Puerto Rico
b. in the country of Nicaragua
c. near the shore of Puerto Rico
d. in the middle of the jungle

8. Roberto Clemente Sports City was built with money raised by _______________ .
a. the Puerto Rican Government
b. the people of Nicaragua
c. the city of Pittsburgh
d. baseball fans all over the world

9. Another name for this story could be _______________
a. "Puerto Rico's Happy New Year."
b. "Pittsburgh's Winning Team."
c. "Victims of the Earthquake."
d. "A Hero On and Off the Field."

10. This story is mainly about _______________ .
a. a baseball player who was hurt many times
b. a baseball player who was a star on and off the field
c. the training baseball players get in Pittsburgh
d. an airplane crash which killed hundreds of people

Roberto Clemente Tribute with music from Youtube:

"We Remember Roberto", comprehension check.

1. The people of Carolina learned of Roberto's death ___________ .

a. in the newspapers.
b. over the radio.
c. from his athletic coaches.
d. from his wife.

2. As a boy in school, Roberto was ___________ .

a. quiet and shy.
b. a national hero.
c. the class clown.
d. a big bully.

3. Pitchers had trouble pitching to Roberto because ___________ .

a. he was so short.
b. he never stood still.
c. he hit all kinds of pitches.
d. he was very careful.

4. Roberto's strong arm made it easy for him ___________ .

a. to fight with other players.
b. to throw balls to fans in the stands.
c. to throw base runners out.
d. to run into walls and fences.

5. Roberto was the kind of ball player who ___________ .

a. was interested in setting records.
b. wouldn't help anyone learn the game.
c. was always afraid of getting hurt.
d. gave everything he had to the game.

6. Roberto's life dream was ___________ .

a. to be the best player on the Pittsburgh Pirates.
b. to build a Sports City for children.
c. to leave Puerto Rico forever.
d. to discover why earthquakes happened.

7. Roberto's plane crashed ___________ .

a. at an airport in Puerto Rico.
b. in the country of Nicaragua.
c. near the shore of Puerto Rico.
d. in the middle of the jungle.

8. Roberto Clemente Sports City was built with money raised by ___________ .

a. the Puerto Rican government.
b. the people of Nicaragua.
c. the city of Pittsburgh.
d. baseball fans all over the world.

9.Another name for this story could be ___________ .

a. "Puerto Rico's Happy New Year."
b. "Pittsburgh's Winning Team."
c. "Victims of the Earthquake."
d. "A Hero On and Off the Field."

10. This story is mainly about ___________ .

a. a baseball player who was hurt many times.
b. a baseball player who was a star on and off the field.
c. the training baseball players get in Puerto Rico.
d. an airplane crash which killed hundreds of people.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929-1968: The Civil Rights Leader Organized the March on Washington, DC in 1963.

Martin Luther King at The March on Washington


People in America, a program in Special English on the Voice of America.


Today, Shep O'Neal and Warren Scheer finish the story of the life of civil right's leader Martin Luther King, Junior.



Martin Luther King was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in nineteen twenty-nine. He began
his university studies when he was fifteen years old, and received a doctorate degree in religion. He became a preacher at a church in Montgomery, Alabama.

In nineteen fifty-five, a black woman in Montgomery was arrested for sitting in the white part of a city bus. Doctor King became the leader of a protest against the city bus system. It was the first time that black southerners had united against the laws of racial separation.


At first, the white citizens of Montgomery did not believe that the protest would work. They thought most blacks would be afraid to fight against racial separation. But the buses remained empty.

Some whites used tricks to try to end the protest.

They spread false stories about Martin Luther King and other protest leaders. One story accused Martin of stealing money from the civil rights movement. Another story charged that protest leaders rode in cars while other protesters had to walk. But the tricks did not work, and the protest continued.


Doctor King's wife Coretta described how she and her husband felt during the protest. She said: "We never knew what was going to happen next. We felt like actors in a play whose ending we did not know.

Yet we felt a part of history. And we believed we were instruments of the will of God".

The white citizens blamed Doctor King for starting the protest. They thought it would end if he was in prison or dead. Doctor King was arrested twice on false charges. His arrests made national news and he was released. But the threats against his life continued.


The Montgomery bus boycott lasted three hundred eighty-two days. Finally, the United States Supreme Court ruled that racial separation was illegal in the Montgomery bus system. Martin Luther King and his followers had won their struggle. The many months of meetings and protest marches had made victory possible.

They also gave blacks a new feeling of pride and unity. They saw that peaceful protest, Mahatma Gandhi's idea of non-violence, could be used as a tool to win their legal rights.


Life did not return to normal for Doctor King after the protest was over. He had become well known all over the country and throughout the world. He often was asked to speak about his ideas on non-violence. Both black and white Americans soon began to follow his teachings. Groups were formed throughout the south to protest peacefully against racial separation.

The civil rights movement spread so fast that a group of black churchmen formed an organization to guide it. The organization was called the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Martin Luther King became its president.

In his job, Doctor King helped organize many protests in the southern part of the United States. Blacks demanded to be served in areas where only whites were permitted to eat. And they rode in trains and buses formerly for whites only. These protests became known as "freedom rides. " Many of the freedom rides turned violent. Black activists were beaten and arrested. Some were even killed.


In nineteen sixty-three, the black citizens of Birmingham refused to buy goods from the stores in the city. They demanded more jobs for blacks. And they demanded to send their children to white schools. The white citizens were angry and afraid, but they refused to meet the blacks' demands. The situation became tense. Many protestors were beaten and arrested. Even Doctor King was arrested. But he was not in prison for long.

The Birmingham demonstrations made international news. Whites soon saw that it was easier to meet the demands of the protestors than to fight them. Martin Luther King and his followers had won an important victory in Birmingham. It marked a turning point for the civil rights movement.

Martin Luther King recognized the importance of Birmingham. It did not mean that racial separation had ended. Some still remains today. But he felt that the battle was almost won. And he wanted to call on the nation for its support. So doctor king organized a March on Washington, D. C.

Martin Luther King delivers the speech: "I Have a Dream"

The March on Washington took place in August, nineteen sixty-three. About two hundred fifty thousand persons gathered there. They came to demand more jobs and freedom for black Americans. There were to be many other marches in Washington during the nineteen sixties and early seventies. But this was the biggest up to that time.


It was in Washington that Martin Luther King gave one of his most famous speeches. The speech is known as the "I Have a Dream Speech. " It expressed his ideas for the future. Doctor king said:



Martin Luther King received the Nobel Peace Prize in nineteen sixty-four. But he did not live to see the final results of his life's work. He was shot to death in Memphis, Tennessee, in nineteen sixty-eight.

Doctor King always felt he would die a violent death. His life had been threatened wherever he went. And he often spoke to his wife about his fears. But he never believed that his life was more important than the civil rights movement. The night before he died he spoke to his supporters. He said:


(MUSIC: "We Shall Overcome")



You have been listening to the story of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Junior. This Special English program was written by William Rodgers. Your narrators were Shep O'Neal and Warren Scheer. I'm Doug Johnson. Listen again next week at this time for another People in America program on the Voice of America.

August 28, 1963. Martin Luther King. "I have a dream."

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. [Applause]

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Sunday, January 10, 2010

White Sands National Monument: A Wonder of Nature, from VOA.


Welcome to THIS IS AMERICA IN VOA Special English. I'm Faith Lapidus.

One of the world's great natural wonders is in the state of New Mexico, in the American Southwest. Nature has created huge moving hills of pure white sand. These sand dunes cover more than seventy-thousand hectares of desert.

Now, Steve Ember and Mary Tillotson are your guides as we explore White Sands National Monument.



It is one of the largest sand dune fields in the United States. The bright white sand dunes are always changing, always moving, like waves on the ocean. Driven by strong winds, the sand moves and covers everything in its path. It is like a huge sea of sand.


The sand dunes have created an extreme environment. Plants and animals struggle to survive. A few kinds of plants grow quickly to survive burial by the moving sand dunes. Several kinds of small animals have become white in color in order to hide in the sand.

White Sands National Monument protects a large part of this dune field. It also protects the plants and animals that live there. More than five-hundred-thousand people visit White Sands National Monument each year. They climb on the dunes and observe the moving sea of sand.


You may wonder how all this sand arrived in the area. To understand that, you would have to travel back in time two-hundred-fifty-million years. An inland ocean once covered the area. The minerals calcium and sulfur were at the bottom of the ocean. Over time, the water slowly disappeared. The calcium and sulfur remained. The minerals formed gypsum rock.

Then, seventy-million years ago, the Earth's surface, or crust, pushed upward. The rocks formed two groups of mountains. Later, the crust pulled apart. The area between the mountains broke and fell down. It formed a half-circle shape of a bowl. This bowl of rock is known as the Tularosa Basin.


About twenty-four-thousand years ago, it rained a great deal in the area. The rain filled the Tularosa Basin and formed Lake Otero. The rain and snow that washed down the mountains into Lake Otero carried gypsum with it.

Later, Lake Otero almost completely dried up. Gypsum remained. A strong wind moved into the area. It blew across the land for thousands of years. Pieces of gypsum broke off. The wind wore them away to a size small enough to pick up and carry for short distances. Wherever the wind dropped sand, dunes formed.




The sand dunes at White Sands National Monument are unusual because they are made of gypsum. Gypsum sand is different from common sand. Most sand is made of quartz, a hard silicon crystal. Gypsum sand is made of softer calcium sulfate. It dissolves easily in water. So it is rarely found in the form of sand dunes. Most gypsum would be carried away by rivers to the sea. But the Tularosa Basin is enclosed. No rivers flow out of it. So water with dissolved gypsum has nowhere to go.

Gypsum sand is being made all the time. The dunes continue to form and move under the influence of water and wind. Water continues to wash down from the mountains carrying dissolved gypsum into the Tularosa Basin. Wind continues to blow across the Basin carrying the gypsum.

The gypsum sand grains crash into each other. The crash creates tiny lines or scratches on the surface of the sand. These scratches change the way light shines off the surface. This makes the sand appear white. The sand dunes look like great masses of bright white snow. But they are not cold and wet. It only rains about eighteen centimeters each year.



There are four kinds of sand dunes at White Sands National Monument. Some of the dunes are small and fast-moving. They are called dome dunes because they are shaped like a half-circle. Few if any plants grow on them. These dunes move the fastest, up to twelve meters a year.

Other dunes are called transverse dunes. They form in long lines across the dune field. They can grow to be one-hundred-twenty meters thick and eighteen meters high.

Another kind of dunes are barchan dunes. They form in areas with strong winds but a limited supply of sand. These dunes have sand in three parts, like a body in the center and two arms on the sides. The sand in the two arms moves faster than the sand in the center.

Parabolic dunes are the opposite of barchan dunes. They form when plants hold sand in the outer parts of the dune but the center of the dune continues to move.



You may wonder how anything can live in this extreme environment of a white sand desert. There is not much rain. The heat in summer is intense. The sand lacks nutrients.

Yet almost four-hundred kinds of animals live in White Sands National Monument. Many of them are birds or insects. There are also twenty-six kinds of reptiles, including rattlesnakes and lizards. And there are more than forty kinds of mammals. They include rabbits, foxes and coyotes.

Scientists know that plants and animals often change to be able to live in extreme environments. For example, they change color to protect themselves from enemies. Many of the animals that live in the sand dunes have become white. So it is difficult to see the animals in the sand.

There is another reason why you may not be able to see the animals. Many of them remain underground during the day when it is very hot. They come out at night when it is cooler. You may be able to see their footprints.


Plants do grow in the White Sands dune field. But even plants that grow in most deserts have trouble surviving. A major reason is that the dunes bury any plants in their way as they move across the desert. Yet, a few plants have developed techniques to avoid being buried by moving sand.

For example, some plants grow taller and their roots grow deeper into the sand. The soaptree yucca plant can make its stem grow longer to keep its leaves above the sand. The plant grows up to thirty centimeters a year.



White Sands National Monument is about twenty-four kilometers southeast of the city of Alamogordo, New Mexico. In the visitor center at the entrance of the park, you can find out about special activities and guided walks. From the visitor center, you can drive about thirteen kilometers into the center of the dunes. It is like driving on a lonely white planet. Along the way there is information that tells about the natural history of the white sands.

White Sands National Monument

You can also explore the dunes on foot. There are four marked trails. Signs along the trail tell about the plants growing in the sand. You can see some unusual and beautiful plants and flowers growing in the sand dunes. But you may not remove or destroy any plants or animals at White Sands.

You can even camp there overnight. But you must be careful. It is easy to get lost in the waves of moving sand especially during sandstorms. There is no water to drink. The temperature can rise to thirty-eight degrees Celsius in summer. There is no shelter from the sun's rays.


There is another reason to be careful at White Sands National Monument. The White Sands Missile Range completely surrounds the park. It covers one-million hectares. The missile range was first used as a military weapons testing area after World War Two. It was used to test rockets that were captured from the German armed forces. The missile range continues to be an important testing area for experimental weapons and space technology.

These tests take place about two times a week. For safety reasons, both the park and the road from it south to Las Cruces, New Mexico may be closed for an hour or two while tests are taking place.


White Sands National Monument is part of America's National Parks System. The park system includes more than three-hundred-seventy protected areas. White Sands National Monument is just one of the more unusual examples of America's natural and cultural treasures.



Our program was written by Shelley Gollust and read by Steve Ember and Mary Tillotson. I'm Faith Lapidus. Internet users can find our programs at We hope you join us again next week for THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English.


1. Plants grow in White Sands National Monument, but _______________ .

a. visitors pick them
b. they have trouble surviving
c. animals eat them
d. they grow too large

2. White Sands National Monument is located ________________ .

a. in the American Southeast
b. in northern Mexico
c. in southwest Texas
d. near Alamogordo, New Mexico

3. A major reason why plants don't survive in White Sands National Monument is that _______________________ .

a. they don't have deep enough roots
b. they need more water
c. the moving sand buries them
d. they receive insufficient nutrients from the sand

4. 250,000,000 years ago, the land where White Sands is now located was _____ .
a. a forest
b. an inland ocean
c. a very high mountainous region
d. a place where continents collided

5. It is rare to find gypsum sand. But, because there are no __________ , the dissolved gypsum has nowhere to go.
a. winds
b. rivers
c. rain storms
d. lakes

6. Of the animals found at White Sands Monument, you are least likely to find _______________.
a. fish
b. rattlesnakes
c. birds
d. coyotes

7. Lake Otero was formed 24,000 years ago when it rained heavily in Tularosa Basin. Now, Lake Otero is ________________ .
a. an important lake for fishing and boating.
b. off limits because of weapons tests
c. almost completely dried up
d. surrounded by sand

8. A small mammal might be able to hide from a rattlesnake if over time its ____________ .
a. teeth evolve to become sharper
b. legs evolve to become larger and faster
c.sight and smell evolve to become sharper
d. fur color evolves to become whiter

9. Another name for this selection could be ___________ .
a. "A Fascinating and Unique Desert in the Southwest U. S."
b. "The Dangers of Traveling in America's Deserts"
c."The Wild Life of White Sands National Monument"
d. "The Struggle of Plants to Survive Desert Landscapes"

10. This article is mainly about ______________________ .
a. the expanding international market for gypsum products
b. the different formations in sand dunes and their causes
c.the surprising variety of life forms in desert environments
d. the natural history of White Sands National Monument

This is a nice video of White Sands National Monument. The sweet flute music complements it nicely.