The best way to learn about the world around you is to get out there and experience it, an approach that gave some Craig students the time of their lives.
Earlier this month, teachers from Ridgeview Elementary School took 20 students ranging from third to fifth grade on a special field trip focused on ecology and outdoor science. Traveling to Granby’s Snow Mountain Ranch with YMCA of the Rockies, kids were given the chance to participate in numerous indoor and outdoor activities while learning also about nature.
Ridgeview teachers Jennifer Stagner, Tyler Loyd and Rhonda Counts supervised the students for the trip, which Counts noted was funded primarily by donations from Kawcak Inc. and Quicksilver Resources Inc.
“The fact that we were able to do it without using any district money was pretty huge,” Counts said.
The kids who attended — who were selected randomly from a list of applicants because of a limited availability — also paid a small fee for the activities, which included snowshoeing, archery, roller-skating, climbing walls and other fun stuff.
Students were also engaged in educational opportunities about winter survival, pioneering, topography and other subjects.
Among the things learned by fourth-graders Logan Hafey, Emily Moore, McKinley Winkler, Alec Tucker and Brooklynn Ray — all of whom are part of Candi Hellander’s class at Ridgeview — were how plants subsist in the cold, which are safe to eat, animal hibernation and tracking, using a compass and how to make their own shelters in case of emergency, creating snow caves by digging with plastic shovels.
Moore said science is her favorite subject in school and being out in nature let her enjoy it even more, although she was somewhat surprised when she learned a raccoon had nabbed her water bottle.
“We just found it like that, but it drank all the water,” she said.
Science is also the preferred subject for Winkler.
“I’m a big fan of science, and when I grow up I want to be a scientist that explores all nature,” she said.
The length of the two-night trip was an adventure for students who have rarely gone far from Craig or Moffat County.
“I wanted to try something new because I really don’t like getting away from home, but that made me experience something else and it made me say to myself, ‘I can do more stuff,’” Hafey said.
The kids who were unable to attend the trip will still take away much of the same knowledge, with the students who went able to teach their peers through presentations they’ll soon be making.
Stagner said Ridgeview staff has worked to arrange some innovative field trips this year, including one last fall where students traveled to Steamboat Springs to learn about engineering. As long as funding isn’t a problem, they hope to take a group of kids to The John McConnell Math & Science Center of Western Colorado, in Grand Junction, this spring.
“I think kids learn so much when they go out of the classroom to use their knowledge,” Stagner said.
Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.