It doesn't get much better than a school family learning, worshipping and relaxing together in one of the world's most scenic natural settings. This fall, ninth- through 12th-graders from Mt. Ellis Academy (MEA) spent a week in Grand Teton National Park.
In small groups, students studied fire ecology, wildlife biology and water ecology. Each group spent a day in the field receiving instruction on an area of study, and a day designing and conducting a research project.
Students also participated in hiking and canoeing activities. One-third of the students chose to do a rigorous hike, spanning 17.5 miles up and over a divide and among the high peaks of the Tetons. MEA students are the toughest kids around. The trip was made even more exciting because of numerous bear sightings, though no negative encounters thankfully.
Outdoor school is a tremendous time for establishing spiritual focus for the school year as well as bonding the student body. It is also part of an overall school emphasis on taking the learning process into the great outdoors.