Eagle Rock Students Win Art Awards at Rocky Mountain Park’s 100th Anniversary

RMNP-100There’s been a lot of celebrating this year surrounding the 100th anniversary of Rocky Mountain National Park, and Eagle Rock School students got in on the action with their offerings in the park’s student art competition.

This coming Friday is the 100th birthday of this pristine park that is Eagle Rock’s nearest all-green neighbor. And we’ve been excited as everyone else about this landmark anniversary, which has been highlighted by speeches, special activities and community events for the past year.

Some of our more artistic students signed up earlier this year for the park’s 100th anniversary student art competition, and Rahmel Evans, Cristian Aguliz and Zoe Johansen all won big-time awards for their art. Rahmel took a first-place win in the park’ statewide high school photography category, and Cristian followed up with a second-place nod. Zoe walked away with second place statewide for high school art.

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The theme of the student art competition was to illustrate a century of lessons learned from the eco systems in Rocky Mountain National Park. During an Exposure course held prior to the contest, students spent a full week traveling to different locations in the park, shooting pictures and learning about the environment and history of the area. That’s where Rahmel and Cristian captured the excellent digital images of Rocky that were recognized as winners.

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During a following trimester — in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain National Park mural that Eagle Rock students painted — time and energy was spent Continue reading…

Connecting Wilderness Field Experiences to Academic Success

As frequent readers of the Eagle Rock Blog may already know, the Eagle Rock School New Student Wilderness Orientation Course is a staple rite of passage in the Eagle Rock student experience. All new students, since the founding of the school in the early-1990s, are challenged to start out their Eagle Rock experience by leaving behind the comforts of modern society and heading out into the wilderness for 24 days with a small group of strangers/fellow incoming students.

They are required to sleep on the ground, cook their own food, face the challenges that Mother Nature presents, and deal with all of the issues that arise in small group living. On top of that, these students are challenged to take a deep look at themselves, working on self-awareness, self-control, effective communication and tools that will help them to be successful in the Eagle Rock community.

Our wilderness courses follow a typical Outward Bound type model (backpacking, rock-climbing, solo, service, etc.) where the group — focusing on personal growth and development — gradually builds towards more independence from the instructor team. But we differ dramatically from most outdoor programs in that this is truly an orientation program with the primary focus of preparing students for both the academic and student living experience on campus.

Eagle Rock School Wilderness Orientation

Literally everything we do during the first five weeks of the new student experience should be focused on helping these novice Eagle Rock School students to achieve success in their time here.

When new students arrive, their first week is packed full of the Eagle Rock experience. They are expected to fully engage and participate from Day One. The intention of having a full week on campus is for the students to fully understand what they are getting into. That time also provides our wilderness instructors the opportunity to observe these “newbies” and have something to draw from later when Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Staff and Instructors Share Their Vacation Plans

We checked in with a number of Eagle Rock staff members and faculty to find out what they are up to during the trimester break that started last week and ends in early-September — and some of their activities are more exciting than you might think.

These dedicated faculty and administrators are taking to the summer heat by attending bicycling competitions at altitudes of more than 10,000 feet; canoeing in the Yukon Territory; attending music festivals with an endless string of bands; and even spending time on a volcanic island.

"Concepcion from finca" by David Ansley - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Concepcion_from_finca.JPG#/media/File:Concepcion_from_finca.JPG
“Concepcion from finca” by David Ansley – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Commons.

Below, in no particular order, is an offering of “What I’m Doing on My Summer (Trimester) Break,” summed up by 10 Eagle Rock staff and faculty members:

Brighid Scanlon, our instructional specialist in world languages, is in Nicaragua to spend some time on Isla de Ometepe, a volcanic island (see image above). She plans to do lots of yoga and hiking while staying in an international community on the island.

Jesse Beightol, our instructional specialist in outdoor education is spending his break canoeing the Snake River in the Yukon Territory. He and Jack Hilbrich, a 2014-15 Public Allies Fellow in Outdoor Education who returns to us as a contract instructor this fall, are driving to Whitehorse and then flying to the river. They are spending about 18 days whitewater canoeing. This article from The New York Times (Far, Maybe Too Far, Into the Yukon) covers where they are and what they’re doing.

Dan Condon, associate director of professional development, is heading off to Aspen to watch Stage 3 of the USA Pro Challenge. He says it’s like a United States version of the Tour De France — only much steeper.

Meghan Tokunaga-Scanlon, our instructional specialist in music said her plans include Continue reading…

What Passes for Our Summer Break is Now Underway

Eagle Rock’s trimester shuffle is well underway, with our latest graduates receiving their diplomas last Friday along with the official end of ER 66, which put to bed our 66th trimester since Eagle Rock’s founding back in 1993.

If you missed our most recent graduates on stage, you can still see all the action — in living color — online via the Eagle Rock channel on Ustream (the ER 66 graduation ceremony can found in the right hand column).

But officially, as of today, we’re on break. Unofficially, there’s a lot of work still going on at our mountainside campus in Estes Park, with tomorrow being the final day on campus for our 2014/15 Public Allies Fellows, and preparations well underway for the arrival of the 2015/16 Public Allies Fellows for a week’s worth of training toward the end of the month.


For those faculty and staff taking a much deserved break, what we hope is that this well-rested cohort returns to campus here in Estes Park on Monday, Sept. 7 fired up and ready for ER 67. A week later — on Sunday, Sept. 13 — our Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Joel ‘Shortz’ Ziegler, Eagle Rock Facilities Maintenance Crewmember

Joel ‘Shortz’ Ziegler
Joel ‘Shortz’ Ziegler

His mom might have named him Joel, but pretty much everybody calls him Shortz. His job here at Eagle Rock entails keeping everything safe, in working order, and looking good. And all it takes is one look at our beautiful mountainside campus to know that Shortz’ is really good at his job!

As is required of everyone who works here, Shortz loves learning. And like most everyone else, he wishes Eagle Rock had been around when he was in high school!

Get to know Shortz by reading his profile below:

Eagle Rock: What did you do prior to coming to work for Eagle Rock?

Shortz: I’ve been in Estes Park since the summer of 2000. For most of that time I worked in a lot of departments at the YMCA here in Estes Park. I spent a few years in the programs department, teaching outdoor education, and I facilitated many family programs. The last several years at the “Y” were spent in buildings and grounds, where I learned everything I could about grounds and buildings maintenance.

Eagle Rock: What attracted you to Eagle Rock?

Shortz: I heard a lot about what was happening out here and what Eagle Rock was about. And I’ve always wanted what I did for a living to make a difference in this world. I think this school epitomizes giving young adults a good place to grow and better themselves — and they get an education, too! I feel blessed to get paid to do what I love at a place that is making such a difference in the lives of our future.

Eagle Rock: When you’re not working, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Shortz: I like traveling, mountain biking, downhill biking, climbing, camping, hiking, working on cars or trucks — helping people out with what I know how to do.

Eagle Rock: What reality TV should you be on and why would you win or be kicked off? Continue reading…