Life Zones along Monarch Pass– Thursday, September 14
GARNA’s Youth Ecological Literacy Program (YELP) goals are to foster environmental stewardship and to encourage young people to explore careers within the field of natural resources. The program provides science-based, experiential activities and education through school field trips, career exploration, enrichment programs, and summer camps. The goal of the school-based programs is to tailor lessons for each grade level, both to bolster students’ academic knowledge through hands on experiences and to raise the next generation of youth with a better understanding of stewardship and what makes their environment so unique.
What kinds of trees still thrive with a short 3 month growing season in the subalpine? What kinds of animals can handle the winds and changing weather of the alpine? How have the extreme factors involving wind, water, and glaciers shape the geology of the mountains? What makes riparian areas such an important corridor for wildlife? Longfellow Elementary 3rd graders explored the rich diversity of the varying life zones along Monarch Pass answering these questions and more.
Observing and comparing the foothills, montane, riparian, subalpine, and alpine life zones by making stops in Maysville and hiking along the Monarch Crest Trail, Salida School District 3rd graders had a great day learning from many local experts. Students completed 4 stations covering the topics of geology, plant biology, terrestrial biology, and orienteering. These stations were led by GARNA staff, Alpine Achievers Initiative AmeriCorps Members, partners from the US Forest Service, and GARNA volunteers. As a part of their pre-trip lesson, students learned both how compasses work and about compass navigation and had the opportunity to put those skills to use through an orienteering scavenger hunt. For many, hiking along the Monarch Crest Trail and seeing the grand views of the continental divide were a highlight. The extensive outdoor classroom along Monarch Pass made for a great day of learning!
We would like to thank all our volunteers for teaching and making the day a great success: Anthony Davila, US Forest Service; Claire Mechtly, GARNA volunteer; Alex Winch and Matt White, Alpine Achievers Initiative; John McCarthy, GARNA Board member, and Janet Blessington, GARNA volunteer. We would also like to thank the parent chaperones and Longfellow 3rd Grade Teachers: Morgan Love, Mark Tameler, Jaime Giorno, and Carol McIlvaine.