Education Week

This past week all of the crews returned to Estes Park for Education Week. During this week, the Rocky Mountain Conservancy – Conservation Corps joins together for an all-crew work project in Rocky Mountain National Park, participates in educational programming, and meets with the Program Manager to touch base on the progress of the season and look forward to what is to come. I’ll be honest we didn’t take too many photos this week because the weather made it an effort just to be outside for most of the week, but here is our recap!

On Sunday all of the crews returned to the Moraine Park Campground to set up camp and prepare for the week.

Monday morning the crews were granted a little later start than usual and met with Dave from the NPS trails division to complete a work project at Lily Lake. The Crews worked to retread a section of the accessible trail headed towards one of the few wedding sites in RMNP. The weather was relentless all day; however, the crews moved over 30 cubic yards of dirt in under six hours while fitting in a few games of ninja during the breaks.

Installing a log to line the trail

Installing a log to line the trail

Shuttling material back and forth

Shuttling material back and forth

For part of the trail we were able;e to use the truck to move material

For part of the trail we were able to use the truck to move material

Tamping down the new material with the plate compactor

Tamping down the new material with the plate compactor

Crushing rock to make the logs fit

Crushing rock to make the logs fit

A lunchtime game of ninja

A lunchtime game of ninja

Traffic during the trail project

Traffic during the trail project

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Tuesday was a split day for the crews. Half of the folks spent the morning with Rocky Mountain Conservancy’s Education Director, Rachel Balduzzi, exploring career opportunities with the National Park Service on a Behind the Scenes Tour, while the other half enjoyed a morning of mid-season review and evaluation. After enjoying a pizza lunch on us, the crews switched places for the afternoon. Stay tuned for updates on the evaluations!

Wednesday and Thursday the crews got to spend the day in the field taking educational courses related to the cultural and natural history of Rocky Mountain National Park. On each day the crew members and leaders had a choice of three.

On Wednesday, the crews could participate in:

Longs Peak Up Close: An overview of the history of Longs Peak, mountaineering in RMNP, and the wildflowers of the region. (Instructors: Walt and Marlene Borneman)

History of Stewardship in RMNP: A philosophical overview of how environmental ethics have evolved over the years from indigenous users of the land to modern day. (Instructor: Geoff Elliot)

Wildflowers of RMNP: An exploration through various areas in RMNP to discover what wildflowers you can find and how to identify them. ( Instructor: Kathy Brazelton, East District Naturalist at RMNP)

Thursday’s options were:

Birds without Borders: A field study of the migratory birds moving between RMNP and Monte Verde, Costa Rica with some Costa Rican students and professionals visiting for the week. (Instructor: Jeff Connor)

When Ice Ruled the Park: A journey up a glacially carved valley to see who different geologic forces moved and shaped the earth to create RMNP’s landscape. (Instructor: Vince Matthews)

Top of the World Tour: An exploration of the unique alpine tundra ecosystem to learn about all of its flora and fauna, along with the issues in managing it. (Instructor: Cynthia Langguth, Alpine Visitor Center Supervisor)

Shadow Mountain Crew Leader, MegEllen Kimmett, with Interpretive Ranger, Cynthia exploring the wildflowers of the tundra.

Shadow Mountain Crew Leader, MegEllen Kimmett, with Interpretive Ranger, Cynthia exploring the wildflowers of the tundra.

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