We miss you guys already! We could not have asked for a better group of students to adventure and learn with this week. We were amazed at your ability to take risks, your passion for getting involved in climate change and wildlife conservation efforts, the way you created a group community, your compassion for others, and the way you find humor in long hikes, skinned knees, cold weather, talus slopes, 45 minute observational studies, and slippery snow. We hope that you all continue to take risks, surround yourselves with good people, get involved in conservation efforts, and never stop exploring. Stay in touch so we can watch all the amazing things you will do!
-Nathalie, Larson, and Erica
Erica Garroutte, Natalie Chardon, Larson Harley
This post features student writing and photography.
We can’t believe it’s already over! While watching fireworks from the flatirons last night, we had a chance to reflect upon the adventures we have had, the challenges we overcame, and the friends we have made in such a short time together. The highlights of the trip were the hikes at 12,000ft in Rocky Mountain National Park, learning to rock climb with Cedar Wright, practicing our street photography during a scavenger hunt on Pearl Street, touching ice cores at INSTAAR, learning about human land use in East Africa from Joel Hartter, learning how to stand up paddle board, and playing games together on campus. We learned how to find the humor in challenges, had a chance to think critically about climate change and wildlife conservation, were inspired to get involved in projects to combat the negative effects of climate change, and reflected on the importance of collecting memories and making good friends. Below are some pictures of our favorite memories:
“This picture was taken at the top of the Ute trail in Rocky Mountain National Park on our way to talk about the effects of climate change on wildlife populations. This was my favorite trail because it felt like we were really able to get away from the crowds.” – Faye R.
“I took this photo while practicing street photography at the farmer’s market in Boulder. I like this photo because this guy is on a mission to write over 180,000 love songs about the environment. He has also been to the future, knows what the future dollar looks like, and knows what my future signature is and presented it to us.” – Ramzy A.
“Friday we worked with a team studying pika in the alpine. Half of the group hiked the two mile trail with an elevation gain of 2,000 feet. We were greeted with spectacular views, as well as a curious marmot.”
– Danny F.
This post features student photography.
“I believe that life is about collecting experiences and friends, not money and laurels.” – National Geographic Expert Cedar Wright
This week we learned to rock climb and shared stories with our Nat Geo Expert, Cedar Wright. The first time climbing for many of us, we enjoyed the challenge of trying new routes, cheering each other on, and spending the day within the flatirons of Boulder. Alter climbing, we watched street performers, ate some ice cream, and practiced our street photography skills on Pearl Street Mall. To end the day, we learned about the art of good storytelling from Cedar’s presentation.
(Photo by Ramzy A.)
(Photo by Claire B.)
(Photo by Claire B.)
(Photo by Claire B.)
Why hang out in a classroom when you can learn about wildlife conservation and climate change in the tundra at 12,000 ft? On Monday, we spent the day exploring the challenges of conserving wildlife and wild places under climate change in Rocky Mountain National Park. While exploring the park, we met with a Park Ranger, learned about the recent mountain pine beetle outbreaks, explored how the distribution of alpine species are changing, observed elk foraging patterns, soaked in the views along Trail Ridge Road, and practiced some photo skills while looking at Longs Peak!
Here’s what some members of our awesome group have to say:
“It was really admirable that there is an appreciation for all forms of life in Rocky Mountain National Park. From the smallest wildflower to the grandest pine tree.” – Charlotte B.
“It was interesting to learn about the role of climate warming on invasive species and the mountain pine beetle in Rocky Mountain National Park.”- Jake K. and Acadia H.
“The issue of the mountain pine beetle raises a lot of ethical and scientific questions that all generations need to think about.” – F. Romero
-Erica, Nathalie, & Larson
After all the planes landed and cars dropped off these National Geographic student explorers, we had a blast getting to know each other over a hearty dinner at the beloved Backcountry Pizza near the University of Colorado, Boulder campus. We dipped our toes in the refreshing Boulder Creek, ate delicious local-made frozen yogurt while watching the sun set over the iconic Flat Irons, and enjoyed each other’s company after months of anticipation for this trip!
The next morning, we ate a breakfast of champions at the excellent campus dining hall next to our dormitory, then met up with National Geographic Expert Dr. Joel Hartter for a hike in the beautiful Flat Irons. Due to the late winter Colorado had, we saw all the wildflowers in bloom and admired the yellow, red, purple, and white petals peaking out of the grasses. We held trail-side botany lessons, saw deer and rabbits bound about, and learned the complexities between photographing light and shadow in outdoor landscapes!
A highlight of the afternoon was listening to an inspiring talk by Joel, who is a professor in the Environmental Studies Program here at CU Boulder. He challenged us to think about how local people matter when striving to find solutions to conservation issues, and his work in Uganda national parks served as a perfect conversation topic.
Today we head to Rocky Mountain National Park, where we’ll dive deeper into wildlife conservation and climate change topics!
-Erica, Nathalie, and Larson
We’ve received word from the leaders that all students have arrived on campus in Boulder, Colorado.
Welcome to National Geographic! This blog is where friends and family can follow along on the group’s adventures through periodic updates, photos, and stories from the field. While we hope for a blog update once or twice each week, internet access is often limited so posts may be less frequent.
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Have a fantastic summer!