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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.


Wild Words in ACES Ed

Posted in Kids' Corner

“Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
'Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain't been there before.” 
Shel Silverstein


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.


Seasonal Changes at Basalt Elementary School

In ACES Ed class at Basalt Elementary School, students have the opportunity to observe and experience the amazing transformations that plants undergo throughout the school year. The school garden, trees, bushes and the nearby Frying Pan River are our backdrops for gauging what is happening in the natural world every day.


Antler Velvet - Caught in the Act

Male deer, elk, and moose have antlers, which they shed every spring, only to re-grow them again over the summer. ACES staff was lucky to catch a critical part of this annual cycle on our trail cameras recently at Hallam Lake.

Deer and elk typically shed their antlers around March and April, when the animals’ testosterone levels are at their lowest. The decreased amount of testosterone causes the bone connecting the antler to the skull to deteriorate, enabling the antler to fall off.  


Excitement about Energy Efficiency at Rock Bottom Ranch

Posted in Ranch Report

The word “energy” has been buzzworthy around ACES at Rock Bottom Ranch lately. This is due in part to significant clean energy upgrades underway at the Ranch, as well as the fourth grade Energy Unit that ACES Educators are currently teaching in the ACES Ed classrooms at Basalt and Crystal River Elementary schools.


Teaching with Puppets

Posted in Kids' Corner

Last fall, first graders at Basalt Elementary School became enamored with “Wormy,” the worm sock puppet that guided them through their soil unit in ACES Ed class. This spring, a caterpillar puppet named Crunch helped Kindergarteners at Aspen Elementary School with lessons in their insect unit. The students were thrilled to find that, just like the caterpillars they were observing live, Crunch the puppet also transformed into a butterfly! ACES educators constantly seek out new ways to make learning engaging and fun.


Snowshoeing Well Into Spring!

Posted in Kids' Corner

A snowshoe program up Castle Creek Valley in April often brings out a “spring fever” kind of energy in both students and ACES Educators alike! Who wouldn’t be excited? ACES Educators get to share their snow science expertise with a group of 6th graders who get to “ramble out yonder” and explore the hidden treasures of the upper Castle Creek Valley, including the Ashcroft Ghost Town!


The Many Roles of ACES Educators

Posted in Kids' Corner

“Good afternoon Ecologists!” I say as I welcome my 1st grade students into the ACES Ed classroom at Basalt Elementary School (BES). “Guess what I saw yesterday while I was leading a tour up on Aspen Mountain?”

“What? A lynx?” one enthusiastic student exclaims. A lynx is just one of the predators we are studying in ACES class, and for them, one of the most interesting. Maybe it is because we have a taxidermy lynx watching over them in the classroom.

“No, but I did see the tracks of the lynx’ favorite prey.” A thoughtful pause fell over the classroom.