Over the recent spring vacation, twenty-nine middle school students (see photo page 1) and two high school student interns who had participated in the program in 2005, traveled across the country to Yellowstone National Park to participate in Expedition: Yellowstone!, an award-winning National Park Service educational program. Students represented grades 6-8 and six different academic teams. This trip was led by Kris and Kevin Kenlan, Amelia Lutz, Pat and Ray Mainer, and Linda Radimer. Seniors Tyler Sanville and Carly Stine were student interns helping in both the planning and the leadership of the trip.
The program is based at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch in the northeast part of the park. Over the course of the five-day program, students immersed themselves in the park’s incredible resources, learning about its geology, ecology, and history. They explored Norris Geyser Basin and Mammoth Hot Springs and took pH and temperature readings to understand the different geological influences in each area. Led by the park rangers who worked with the group throughout the week, they hiked off-trail to get a closer look at the interconnectedness of life in the Park. Students found tepee rings and obsidian chips, artifacts of the Native American historical presence in the park. The U.S. Army also left its traces from the time that the cavalry protected the park. Many students rose extra early each morning to be out at first light when wolves are frequently visible. The importance of stewardship of our natural and historical resources was a primary focus throughout the week.
In addition to the academic focus of the program, students shared the responsibilities of cooking and cleaning for the entire group. They developed from a group of individuals with a common interest into a cohesive and cooperative whole, alert and responsive to the needs of each other and the group, and responsible to the resources that surrounded them.
It was an amazing week and the Expedition: Yellowstone! group gratefully acknowledges the financial support of Merchants Bank, Child Travel Services, Ark Veterinary Hospital, the Knisbacher family, and Entergy. Students and teacher leaders will be putting together a presentation to air on SBNN and to be shared at the May 12th School Exhibition.
SOURCE: Kristin Kenlan, FHTMS teacher