Memories from Mountain School
This spring I was given the task of organizing and coordinating Mountain School post-trip visits, where instructors visit the many classrooms of the students who participated in the program this season. These visits are designed to connect the students’ experience at the Learning Center with their lives in the classroom and at home.
Walking into the classroom was like walking our own personal red carpet, complete with screaming fans (okay, maybe notscreaming fans, but excited anyway), cameras, and questions. “Is there still snow?”, “Have you seen any bears yet?”, “Did you bring us any of that delicious food?”, “Can we sing the moose song again?” – this must be what its like to be a movie star.
Jenny and Geneva Elementary students
We came to each classroom with a blank poster of the Learning Center, complete with drawings of Diablo Lake, Sourdough Mountain, and, of course, the Dining Hall as the representative building for the campus. We handed out pieces of paper and asked the students to draw or describe their favorite memory from Mountain School. When the drawings were complete, students attached them to the poster in the appropriate spot to create a collage of sorts.
A few sample student drawings
Some of the students remembered various extra-curricular activities, like pillow fights in the lodge, staying up to sing songs in the middle of the night, or eating stacks of delicious pancakes with raspberry syrup. Still other students surprised us with the details they recalled. One student remembered how to identify a Western Hemlock tree by the drooping top branches and the unequal length of the needles. Another remembered examining cougar tracks and learning how to tell them apart from wolf or bear tracks. Several drawings included words like “biotic”, “decomposer”, and “metamorphic”. It was a wonderful activity that let us all see that the students’ time at the Learning Center was so much more than just incredibly fun, but an adventure that may stay with them for the rest of their lives.