Vail Daily column: Students today, stewards tomorrow – Colorado News

Vail Daily column: Students today, stewards tomorrow – Colorado News

As mountain peaks lose their snowy caps, creeks and rivers rush with whitewater and wildflowers fill meadows and woods with their vibrant color, we are once again embraced by summer as another school year closed its books.

Throughout the 2016-17 academic year, the youth programs staff at Walking Mountains Science Center spent a combined 44,000 hours with 4,200 students in Eagle County through our Field Science and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) pipeline programs. We worked with nearly all public and private schools in Eagle County to provide students with the opportunity to awaken a sense of wonder for science, sustainability and stewardship through hands-on learning experiences.

“I wish we could do a field program for a whole week instead of just two days,” one sixth-grader from Eagle Valley Middle said to a friend on a Geomorphology Field Science Program. “Yeah, I just learn so much better outside,” the friend responded.

Conversations like this are a testament to the importance and power of hands-on, experiential learning in the outdoors that our Field Science Programs provide.

Since the STEM Leadership Academy after-school program expanded from sixth through eighth grades, we explored options to grow our STEM pipeline programming into high school. After securing funding from Energy Smart Colorado and RA Nelson, Amanda Hewitt, STEM coordinator, embraced the challenge of taking on a Solar Roller team.

The Walking Mountains Solar Roller team worked diligently to design and build a working car, including the engineering and design process, circuitry, solar energy systems and collaboration. These types of experiences create…

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