Aspen Mountain Second Grade Field Program
January 25, 2013
In ACES’ Environmental Education class second graders learn about animal adaptations. Ask one of them and they’ll tell you that an adaptation is “something an animal has or does that helps it to survive.” During this winter season we have been focusing on what adaptations animals have to help them survive winter.
Every January, each second grade class from Aspen Elementary, Basalt Elementary and Aspen Country Day joins ACES Educators on a field trip to the top of Aspen Mountain to go snowshoeing, learn about how animals adapt to winter, and see firsthand signs that those animals are all around them! While our naturalists at Hallam Lake lead daily tours at Aspen, Snowmass, and Ashcroft, these second graders get to take part in a special snowshoe tour: the Winter Challenge Course!
• Walk like a herd of deer – one behind another directly in each other’s tracks. This saves energy so that only the first deer (person) has to break trail.
• Find a seed, nut or a bud to eat, like a mouse would!
• Bound through the snow like a weasel, using all 4 legs to dig a hole down to the grass.
• Without moving from where you are right now, move your head to find the snowshoe hare camouflaged in the snow, just like an owl!
After the students have completed the Challenge, we snowshoe back to the gondola, have lunch, and meet with Aspen Mountain Ski Patrol to learn about mountain safety and avalanches. Two lucky students get buried in a snow cave and “rescued” by one of the avalanche dogs. Sometimes the patrol picks another lucky student to try on the avalanche air bag; take a look at that demonstration here!
This is just one of the fun field programs we get to do with our students. Other field trips include: Owling Nights, Beaver Nights, and much much more! Did you know that in any given school year, ACES educators do over 350 field programs at Hallam Lake, Rock Bottom Ranch, Ashcroft, or other outdoor locations in the Roaring Fork Valley? Call Education Director, Sarah Schmidt at 970-925-5756 if you’d like to schedule a field trip for your class.
~ Melanie Poole, ACES Educator