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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


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.


Water in Winter with ACES Ed

Posted in Kids' Corner

The winter is in full swing at ACES and it is definitely an exciting time to be an Educator here, both in the classroom and on field programs. ACES Ed takes us beyond the confines of the classroom, and winter provides an excellent opportunity for students throughout the Roaring Fork Valley to develop a stronger connection to a very valuable resource: WATER! 


Why Do I Teach Environmental Education?

Posted in Kids' Corner

As an ACES Educator at Basalt Elementary School (BES) I teach around three hundred students, kindergarten through fourth grade, on a six-day rotation. Recently in the ACES Ed classroom, kindergarteners have been learning about the physical characteristics of local animals. This unit explores the kindergarten science standard that a living organism has physical characteristics that help it survive.


Learning from the Ground Up: Exploring Soil and Cultivating Scientific Inquiry with AES First Graders

Posted in Kids' Corner

It doesn’t take long for first graders at Aspen Elementary School (AES) to get their hands dirty in ACES Ed class. After spending their kindergarten year getting to know local animals, first graders re-enter ACES in-school environmental science education program eager to explore the natural world as backyard ecologists. And what better way to cultivate an early appreciation of the environment than by exploring and learning about soil – one of earth’s most essential building blocks. 


3rd Grade Naturalists Take on the World

Posted in Kids' Corner

What is a Naturalist? ACES Educators posed this question to 3rd graders at Aspen Elementary School (AES) early in the school year.