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The majesty of mountains

Photo of American Academy – Castle Pines students at the Elwha River

Students spent a day on the Elwha River learning about its history as the largest dam removal project in U.S. history. Following removal of the two dams, salmon after more than 100 years began swimming upstream again. Pictured above are a group of American Academy – Castle Pines students jumping for joy at this discovery.

American Academy (AA) – Castle Pines eighth grade students joined AA – Parker campuses for a week in Olympic National Park, located in the foothills of the Pacific Northwest’s majestic Olympic Mountains.

Students studied environmental science through a variety of firsthand learning experiences in a new setting. They examined the diverse environment of the Park’s rivers, wildlife and forests and made connections and comparisons to Colorado while analyzing data and connecting results to modern trends and outcomes.

Photo of American Academy – Castle Pines students hiking

Walking through towering cedars, American Academy – Castle Pines students discussed and applied ‘Leave No Trace’ principles. With every step taken, students were reminded how their actions and those of fellow humans effect our world.

Teacher and chaperone Chris Todd underscored that the more students are led to real-world connections and the meaning of data in the natural world, the better for its long-term understanding.

Challenging themselves physically by trekking six miles to the top of Mount Storm King, hiking through old growth forests and canoeing the clear waters of Crescent Lake, the group developed meaningful relationships and discovered a caring relationship with the natural world. Student Avery Clement learned if you take a step back and really look, nature can be more beautiful than you think.

By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of Chris Todd



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