The Issue: Lack of Activities for Low-Income Students
The Eagle County School District exists in a resort community with a high cost of living and many low-income service jobs. Of the district’s roughly 6,000 students, 2,388 are in the free or reduced-price lunch program, according to data from its website. Without financial assistance, these students can find it difficult to afford tuition for extracurricular programs that challenge them in math and science.
The Campaign: Teaching Students Through Field Trips
If this Grassroots campaign raises $450, then Walking Mountain Science Center can sponsor a Success in Science field trip for a class of 30 children from an underserved middle school. Each additional $450 raised will fund a field trip for another 30-child class. During Success in Science field trips, students split into groups with an 11:1 student-to-teacher ratio and travel to five outdoor classrooms to study the ecologies of a creek, wetland, pond, forest, and mountain. Working with graduate fellows in the sciences, classes spend time outside, using the scientific method and developing critical-thinking skills through grade-specific environmental lessons. At the end of the trip, students receive a journal containing the day's lessons and teachers receive posttrip activities to keep the discussion going at school.
Walking Mountains Science Center
As a child, Kim Langmaid often traversed her native habitat—the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. As she studied to become a naturalist in graduate school, she watched as more and more visitors discovered the breathtaking beauty of the mountains and longed to share her connection to the landscape with others. To that end, she opened the Gore Range Natural Science School in 1998 in Red Cliff, Colorado, to teach youth about the natural wonders of the environment.
Today, the renamed Walking Mountains Science Center fulfills her early mission by inspiring environmental stewardship through field-based, natural-science education. Its courses range from geology to forest ecology to snow science, incorporating hands-on lessons in math, language arts, and science that align with state learning standards. The 5-acre outdoor campus features five natural areas including a creek, wetlands, a pond, forest, and mountains, along with indoor classrooms and a discovery center with interactive exhibits and an oversize beaver lodge. Reflecting Walking Mountains' commitment to nature, the campus has incorporated solar power, green roofs, and geothermal features, with an ultimate goal of becoming LEED Platinum certified.
Check out more Groupon Grassroots campaigns here.