This week was a breath of fresh air! The 14 Principia Upper School students and two supervisors arrived at the Teton Science School on the 25th of January. I woke up at 6:00am most mornings and enjoyed the solitary blue light that comes before dawn. I like to sit in the dining lodge before the students arrive for breakfast and watch the sun come up to light the mountains.
Next, Margaret Holt (the art instructor) and I (the writing instructor) would hold a two-hour nature journaling workshop. We helped the students with their drawing and creative writing skills. The students spent every afternoon out in the field with Robin and Elise, the TSS ski instructors, where they learned about local species and habitats. Evening programs included snow science, a talk about the lives of Mardy and Olaus Murie – a famous naturalist couple, and a folk guitar concert by Beth McIntosh. The students learned to work together as a group, to be more observant of their surroundings, and to be confident in their work. For some of them, drawing and writing in a nature journal was a new thing. For some, it was the physical activity of snowshoeing and crosscountry skiing that was new. Every student learned something outside his or her comfort zone.
The other delightful thing about this group is that the seniors that came on this trip are the same kids for whom I wrote A Walk in the Rainforest in 1992. Only now they’re a lot taller. And some of them are becoming writers and artists themselves.