Get outside! Learn firsthand about the ecology of the Arkansas Valley through eco hikes, group games and service projects.
Learn about the mountain ecology of the Upper Arkansas River Valley on a one- to three-hour hike through our 1,100-acre property. We have several miles of trails on property and access to the Colorado Trail and Harvard Lakes for longer day hikes. Experience firsthand the effects of invasive species, forest management, variations in vegetation and wildlife habitats. Hikes include a mix of instruction, sensory awareness activities and games that challenge students to adapt to their surroundings.
Eco Stratego is a large-scale, highly active game. It is a modified life-size version of the Stratego board game with students assuming animal identities and working with their ecosystem teammates to try and obtain the other ecosystem’s sun. The activity requires a high level of teamwork and strategy and teaches students about how species can cooperate to accomplish a goal.
Led in partnership with our land manager, service projects teach students about the value of forest management, fire prevention and volunteerism. Work alongside our team to create slash piles and see how simple measures such as promoting the growth of Aspen groves can help prevent forest fires. Depending upon the size of the group and time required, we also offer trail maintenance projects. These crews of volunteers help rehab and update our trails so they are hiker-friendly and less prone to erosion.
In Survival, students become herbivores, omnivores and carnivores and attempt to find the resources they need while escaping their predators. This ecology-based game of tag gives students the opportunity to roam and explore a section of the forest while gaining an understanding of the food web and each organism’s role in an ecosystem as a producer or consumer of energy.
Learn backcountry survival skills from experienced instructors. This rotation includes demos and supervised practice of building and lighting camp fires as well as shelter building. Other topics include common plants and uses, safe drinking water, methods of purification and the importance of observation in nature. This is a fun, hands-on session that both chaperones and students enjoy while developing several practical backcountry skills.