By INDIA KRUG – Students from the IHS STEM wing traveled to Jackson, Wyoming for a week-long visit at Teton Science Schools, an organization that utilizes nature as a classroom. The group was given the opportunity to build a deeper understanding of ecosystems through daily hikes and field research at Grand Teton National Park.
In the mornings, students awoke to twenty-five-degree weather and geared up for a day outside in the park. Over the course of the trip, they studied fire and water ecology. Students also completed field research projects, such as determining moisture levels in soil and which macroinvertebrates to look for in streams in order to evaluate the amount of pollution present.
Senior Nathan Birch says, “My favorite part of the trip was getting the chance to travel to such a new and unique ecosystem with some of my closest friends.”
For many, it was the first time they had ever seen a mountain range up close. They ate packed lunches beside clear lakes, stargazed at night, and perplexed one another with brain teasers on the trail. (Do you know what you can bring through the green glass door?) Their week concluded with an eight-mile-long adventure hike that left everyone with snow-covered hair, red noses, and smiles.
Junior Amna Kasi shares, “The trip to Wyoming was a life-changing experience for me. It taught me a little about being independent. I personally think that over the time period of the trip I learned many new things and shared many new experiences with great people. I feel like this trip has put more confidence in me. And one cannot forget about the amazing views there!”
In addition to engaging with the environment, students discussed how to hone their leadership skills. They learned about the importance of shared dialogue and created group guidelines to follow, which included celebrating every individual’s different abilities.
In a conscious effort to minimize food waste, scraps were weighed after dinners. Everyone who stays at the Teton Science Schools participates in their stewardship program, based on the belief that every member of a community must contribute to its overall health. This involves cleaning dishes after meals and keeping the spaces neat.
Science teacher Mr. Michael Lehman, the trip coordinator and adviser, comments, “Teton Science Schools exceeded my expectations in both facilities and faculty. I was nervous going in since I had never personally been there, but once we arrived, from pickup at the airport to drop off our final day, the service and personal touch brought by TSS made the trip easy and educationally valuable.”
This trip was obviously more than calculating the re-growth period after a forest fire or identifying a pine tree based on its needle pairings. The school prioritized mindfulness and developing an awareness of how our actions affect the world around us. Most importantly, students developed a kinship that prevailed even after the plane touched back down in Pennsylvania.
[Photo by Maddie Caroff ]
Photo Caption: “HIS STEM students experienced breathtaking views on their recent trip to Teton Science School in Jackson, Wyoming.”
India is a senior and joined The High Arrow because journalism matters. Since joining the staff three years ago, she has written many articles, including opinions, has made a lot of friends, and has grown to adore Bob Woodward.