Written in January: This week our middle schoolers broke ground, and began constructing their playground installations for our School Nature Park! A student decided she wanted to build a wooden bridge for the park, and here she is along with her teacher installing the anchor blocks. This part of the building process took about an hour to complete, and involved a lot of math and simple physics. The first step involved some physical labor to level ground, where the blocks would be placed. It was hard work shoveling and raking the earth to get it just right. We used a level, and made many adjustments along the way. Also, we had to measure the distance of the blocks over and over throughout the installation, to ensure they were exactly 10 feet apart at the end. Here are a couple before and after shots.
Written in September: The 5-7th grade class just came back from spending a week adventuring to Mission: Wolf, a wolf sanctuary in southern Colorado. We also spent a night at the Great Sand Dunes and topped it all off with a soak at the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs. This was a wonderful trip full of opportunities to stretch ourselves: finding comfort in being away from home, bonding as a class community, and connecting more to the amazing natural world that we live in.
It was amazing to see these wild beings so up close and personal. After learning about how wolves greet each other, we were able to enter the Ambassadors' enclosure-- a pen with three of wolves who enjoy human interaction. We learned to enter their space with confidence, look them in the eyes, and allow them to sniff and even lick our teeth in greeting! It was incredible to share space with such powerful and wise creatures.
Mission: Wolf is a sanctuary run entirely on the efforts and love of volunteers and we were able to lend our hand to some projects while we were there: chopping and stacking firewood for the long upcoming winter, collecting seeds, and most impactful: helping to cut meat from the body of a sick horse who was donated to the wolves. This experience provided quite an emotional stretch for many of us. We were able to face the feelings that came up and find the place that felt right for each of us, whether it was just finding comfort in being around the process or actually getting in there and helping with this amazing and physical task. We were all reminded about the never ending cycles of life as we tossed the meat to the wolves who gratefully “wolfed” it down.