There is plenty of recreational activity now at the height of the winter sports season on Grand Mesa and plenty of new snow has recently arrived.
The Grand Mesa has also become a vast, outdoors classroom in recent weeks as teachers and students from area schools and from other schools on the West Slope have taken to the local alpine environs to learn.
Teachers from Delta County Schools recently participated in a seminar on the mesa along with GMUG personnel and volunteers from the Grand Mesa Nordic Council, and Colorado Parks and wildlife for explorations of winter ecology and survival awareness skills.
Anne Janik, who coordinates the Junior Snow Ranger programs with the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forest and who participated in the seminars, said, "Winter is a great time to be outdoors, and living in Colorado is all about the outdoors. To encourage Coloradans to step into the snowy landscape, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife with the U.S. Forest Service and the Grand Mesa Nordic Council hosted the January winter ecology workshop for teachers and adult leaders interested in taking kids on winter adventures."
The workshop was titled "Winter Explorations on the Grand Mesa." The goal was to "guide teachers at all grade levels on using the winter landscape as a classroom for students. Instruction was held at the U.S. Forest Service Grand
Mesa Visitors Center," Janik said.
There were a number of different activities included in seminars that were tailored to show teachers how to keep and hold student interest levels throughout learning and recreational activities. Janik explained in an e-mail correspondence with the DCI:
"The activities included a snowshoe or cross country ski trek through the forest searching for animals tracks, learning to identify trees, and investigating the science of snow including snow layers, snow crystals, and avalanche awareness.
"During the day, participants learned how various animals adapt to surviving winter and how the mountain snowpack equates to the precious water we need for our communities. The wrap up included a winter survival challenge focused on the 4-S's for survival: stay calm, stay put, signal, and shelter. There was a reminder of good outdoor manners or 'leave no tract' principals for winter recreation.
"This is a very popular workshop for educators. We had a great turnout of over 29 teachers from all over the western slope," said Leigh Gillette, education coordinator for the CPW's southwest region.
'The winter explorations workshop compliments the new Junior Snow Ranger Program developed by the U.S. Forest Service that awards kids with a badge, and bandana if they complete the activities in the Junior Snow Ranger booklet. We want to encourage children and their families to explore the forest in winter, appreciate nature this time of year and, most importantly, to have fun in the snow," said Anne Janik, program coordinator for the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest."blog comments powered by Disqus