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Third Grade Nature Detectives

Posted in Kids' Corner

In environmental education class Aspen Elementary School (AES) third grade students have been learning about what it takes to be a naturalist detective in the winter. Ask any AES 9 year old, and they’ll tell you that you can look for animal clues in the snow to help create a story of who has been out and about. Nibbled pinecones mean a pine squirrel has been chomping away in the trees up above. Scat along the trail means a coyote has been trotting around looking for dinner. Long rubbings on aspen trees mean elk have been busy scratching their teeth to consume the bark.


Bird Nerding with a Kid

Posted in Bulletin Board
Chickadee

My oldest son Jack (5.5) has had an interest in nature for most of his life. Yes, we get outside a lot living down at Hallam Lake, but Jack is into books, videos and computers too. Nature shows like “Wild America” and “Zoboomafoo” by National Geographic, and bird and mammal field guides, have been a part of his afternoon quiet time for most of his life. During the past couple of years we have been identifying birds visiting our feeder. It began simply enough with magpies and robins, but our list has been steadily growing.


Ashcroft Snowshoe Tour up Castle Creek Valley

Posted in Bulletin Board
Castle Creek in winter

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies ski and snowshoe tours offer the best of the Aspen area. The endless, spectacular views from Aspen Mountain’s Richmond Ridge are some of the best I’ve ever encountered in my short 25 years on this earth. The snowshoe tour on Snowmass Ski Area’s peaceful Rabbit Run Trail allows visitors to escape the crowds and experience their own private winter wonderland. Joining a naturalist to ski down Elk Camp provides a whole new perspective to what one can discover on the slopes, beyond the usual rush of adrenaline and the cold wind kissing your face.


Owling Nights at Hallam Lake

Posted in Kids' Corner
Visit our Great Horned Owlat Hallam Lake, a fun Aspen activity!

"And then Pa called: Whoo-whoo-who-who-who-whooooooo. Whoo-whoo-who-who-who-whoooooooo. I listened and looked so hard my ears hurt and my eyes got cloudy with the cold. Pa raised his face to call out again, but before he could open his mouth an echo came threading its way through the trees. Whoo-whoo-who-who-who-whooooooo."
- Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen


Learning About the Stars

Posted in Kids' Corner

Have you ever gone outside on a crisp, clear, winter evening to look at the stars?  Perhaps you tried to connect a few of them together to make your own constellation? Or maybe you found the three stars that make up Orion’s belt? What if you could see all of these stars in an area the size of your living room?


Quack Facts: Dabblers vs. Divers

Ring-necked Duck at Hallam Lake, an Aspen birding hotspot

Back at the end of August, when bear sightings were a daily occurrence and rose hips were beginning to grow plump, I took a pack of 6-year-olds for a walk around Hallam Lake. We stopped by the water to watch ducks -- a group of female Mallards -- swimming in the shallows. Every few seconds, as my class watched intently, one of the ducks would do this: 


Aspen Mountain Second Grade Field Program

Posted in Kids' Corner
Aspen Elementary 2nd grade snowshoe field trip on Aspen mountain

In ACES’ Environmental Education class second graders learn about animal adaptations. Ask one of them and they’ll tell you that an adaptation is “something an animal has or does that helps it to survive.” During this winter season we have been focusing on what adaptations animals have to help them survive winter. 


2012 Christmas Bird Count - Wrap Up

Christmas Bird Count birdwatching in Aspen

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is the longest-running citizen science survey in the world, drawing some 60,000 participants throughout North, Central and South America.  Running since 1900, the count data provide a picture of how bird populations have changed in time and space over the last 113 years. This information helps conservation biologists and interested individuals study long-term health and status of bird populations, revealing such factors as habitat fragmentation and environmental threats like groundwater pollution, misuse of pesticides, and impacts of climate change


Travel Notes from Costa Rica

Posted in Bulletin Board
Crocodile travel blog

I couldn’t draw an accurate map of Central America to save my life, but at least now I know which one is Costa Rica (it’s the one just above Panama), thanks to a whirlwind tour that took us from the capital, San Jose, to the Caribbean Coast to the Pacific Coast (and many points in between) over the course of eight days in early December.


ACES Premieres Animated Short and Introduces Forest Health Index

Posted in Bulletin Board

Press Release: Aspen, Colorado, January 7, 2013 — After the record-breaking 2012 fire season and drought in Colorado, there has never been a more critical moment to assess the health of our forests and watersheds. Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES), through it’s For the Forest Program, has launched an educational forest health initiative aimed at engaging the public with its Forest Health Index and animated short film, What’s Happening in Our Forest?