This fall, the third and fourth-grade class embarked on an adventurous three days in the Sub-Alpine terrain to High Camp Hut, just off Lizard Head Pass. The students hiked about 2.5 miles noticing the change in scenery as they approached their destination at 11,114 feet. They stopped to discuss the geological remnants of a volcano known as Lizard Head along the way. They watched the aspens fade in the distance as the evergreens grew thicker. Students sang and told stories to pass the time on the trail. Their curiosity grew for what High Camp looked like with every step. Sheer excitement could be heard down the path when students got their first glimpse at the cabin beyond the meadow.
Over the next two days, students deepened their understanding of the San Miguel Watershed, which they began studying at the start of the school year. They took advantage of the higher elevation to explore the Sub-Alpine and Alpine life zones. They quietly observed the plants and animals surrounding them and made inferences about why certain plants and animals lived in these zones compared to lower elevations in the Montane, Riparian, Semi-Desert, and Pinon Juniper zones. Some students wrote poems about the life zones, while others sketched their observations.
Students continued to build on lessons taught at school at three stations led by their teachers on Andy Goldsworthy art, the Fibonacci sequence, and orienteering. Students created beautiful sculptures with natural materials, including rocks, moss, sticks, and leaves. They noticed mathematical patterns in nature among pinecones and flowers. They used compasses to navigate through the woods to a hidden treasure of s’more ingredients.
In addition to the curricular connections they made between lessons taught at school and outdoor learning, the students made new connections with each other. They took turns contributing to the group experience by cooking, cleaning, and leading games. On the hike out, it was evident from the students’ conversation that the three days were spent learning about their surroundings and fostering their friendships through play and problem-solving.