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Animals Preparing (and Excelling) for Winter

Posted in Kids' Corner

As we anxiously count up the inches on top of Aspen’s mountains, many of our furry animals have also been taking count. Winter is upon us, but, we still hear Magpie’s squaw, startle groups of deer, and find increasing numbers of animal track marks. So how are these animals able to survive the frigid temps while I struggle even with my down jacket and thermos of hot chocolate? The answer is more complicated than it appears and, in ACES Ed, we are making sure credit is given where credit is due.


Energy Experts: Project-Based Learning in Action at Crystal River Elementary School

Posted in Kids' Corner

At the start of the 2016/2017 school year, Crystal River Elementary School adopted the Project-Based Learning Initiative (PBL) to guide their pedagogy. Throughout the year, Crystal River Educators will strive to implement this teaching method, which enables students to gain knowledge and skills by investigating and responding to an authentic, engaging, and complex question, problem, or challenge.


Every Family in a Park

Posted in Kids' Corner

The frost clinging to our pop-up camper is starting to slowly melt on this frigid morning in Yellowstone National Park. Mom is the first to wake (as usual) and starts to prep our breakfast. A loud, “AHH!” promptly wakes up the rest of the family. Alarmed, I look over to my mom - who is staring out of our open camper door, locking eyes with a very large bison. My brother and I, extremely amused, unzip our windows to find bison completely surrounding our campsite! I am fascinated and excited to be so close to these incredible animals.


Basalt High School Ex Ed Trip

Posted in Kids' Corner

The great outdoors is my favorite classroom. As an ACES Educator, I am lucky to spend much of my time engaging students of all ages in this ever-changing learning environment.


Assessment in the ACES Ed Classroom

Posted in Kids' Corner

One of my long-term goals in the ACES Environmental Ed classroom at Aspen Elementary School has been to improve student assessment in 3rd and 4th grade. In ACES Ed, each grade level’s curriculum consists of 28 lessons that are divided into three or four units. These units weave state science standards together with place-based experiential lessons to create an environmental education experience that is both rooted in science and relevant to the natural environments where our students live.


Little Ranchers Take Back the Ranch

Posted in Kids' Corner

Spring is in full swing at ACES at Rock Bottom Ranch, as we’re busily preparing the soil, starting seedlings, and caring for all the newest farm animals who call the Ranch home. In the past few weeks, we’ve welcomed new piglets, lambs, chicks, and rabbit kits, with more on the way!  Spring at the Ranch also brings our Little Ranchers parent and child class with the youngest members of the ACES community.


Coming Full Circle

Posted in Kids' Corner

It’s been two and a half months since my first day as an ACES Educator in the ACES Ed classroom at Aspen Elementary School. It’s been 17 years since I myself was a bright eyed 4th grader “helping” construct the very classroom over which I now preside.  


Mentoring a Middle Schooler: Survival Techniques, Trail Cameras, and Mutual Growth

Posted in Kids' Corner
Over the past few months I have had the privilege to share the things I love most about ACES and Hallam Lake with a 6th grade student from Aspen Middle School through their mentorship program. Bodie is an inspiring young environmental steward and together we have had some incredible experiences that have helped us connect with the place we both call home.



The Power of Field Programs-2nd grade on top of Aspen Mountain

Posted in Kids' Corner

Every year, 2nd grade students from Aspen, Basalt, and Crystal River Elementary schools ride up the Silver Queen gondola, duck the ski boundary rope, and head out Richmond Ridge on a snowshoe challenge course. As they walk, signs appear that invite students to try and experience the winter world as one of the winter animal residents that inhabit our local subalpine landscape.


Whooo Would have Thought?

On December 9th, 2015, ACES trail cameras captured footage of a Great Horned Owl with a trout in its talons. Current ACES staff have never witnessed this behavior before. Owls typically feed on small rodents, hunting them at night.