Eagle Rock’s Citizen Scientists Monitoring Our Changing Environment

For the first five weeks of this trimester, six Eagle Rock School students have partnered with staff at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) for the launch of its citizen science initiative — Lily Lake Phenology.

Phenology, which is vital to many aspects of society, is the study of the timing of biological life cycles (nature’s calendar, if you will). Things like budding leaves, blooming flowers, or migration of animal species. So, why should high school students care about any of this? Because long- and short-term changes in areas such as animal migration and flowering are related to our weather and climate patterns. With more information about how plants are reacting to the climate, national park staff can make informed decisions on how to manage species that might be at risk.

At the first data collection site, Eagle Rock School student Hendrick looks for catkins and leaf buds on a willow with RMNP Superintendent, Darla Sidles.

Sound like a worthwhile project? Of course, it is. Especially when you consider that seasonal changes in plants and animals happen quickly and require sustained and frequent observation to monitor.

That’s where our students, serving in the role of citizen scientists come into the picture. For two days each week, students in our Phenology of Lily Lake class take a Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Students Pursue the Psychology of Self

The classes we offer here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center have always pointed our students toward self-discovery, self-improvement, and existing successfully within a society that can be fickle, conflicting, and confusing.

In Social Psychology, a five-week class currently underway in this, our 78th trimester, a dozen students are exploring the big picture in order to identify the conditioned behaviors that we all exhibit. The class explores the thinking process of the individual in order to learn how to establish and nourish healthy habits — keeping in mind that each of us has a psyche that is based on our personal and family history.

And, of course, that history is built upon the existing culture and society, which is dictated by evolutionary and biological needs.

A primary focus that is being explored more than halfway through this class is the “self-other distinction,” which means people instinctively and inherently distinguish between their own feelings and Continue reading…

AEE Accreditation Council Meets at Eagle Rock

For the third time in as many years, the Association for Experiential Education’s (AEE) Accreditation Council recently held its mid-year meeting here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colo. The association, which was founded in the summer of 1977 right here in Colorado, has become the leading accrediting body for organizations that utilize adventure-based experiential education.

AEE’s Accreditation Council – May 2019 (Image courtesy of Steve Pace)

AEE’s accreditation standards, which were first proposed in the early 1990s, are now expressed in six distinct areas:

  1. Philosophical, Educational, and Ethical Principles
  2. Program Governance
  3. Program Management, Operations, and Oversight
  4. Technical Activities – Land
  5. Technical Activities – Water
  6. Non-Technical Activities

Since February of 1995 — when the Accreditation Council awarded the organization’s first seals of approval to the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and Project Adventure — AEE’s highly sought-after accreditation has become the standard by which all adventure-based programs are judged.

During the three-and-a-half-day meeting, which took place from May 31 to June 3 in our on-campus Professional Development Center, council members covered a number of topics, including: Continue reading…