This trimester, the Eagle Rock student body finds itself in pursuit of several outdoor adventures among the half-dozen or so Explore Week course offerings. The wilderness-style courses include camping and canoeing along two popular rivers, as well as another adventure course that features instruction — and participation — in some serious mountain biking.
Also among courses underway this week are a pair of hands-on projects that promise to improve the appearance of our 640-acre campus, including a group-participation mural to grace a wall near our Human Performance Center, and a spruce up for a new on-campus construction project that’s nearing completion.
Here’s what’s going over this five-day period, both on and off campus:
Mountain biking — There’smuch more to mountain biking then just hopping on a saddle and pedaling up or downhill, as students in this Explore Week course are learning. Among the tasks our students are choosing to take on are how to assess an entire mountain bike for mechanical issues, how to adjust wheel bearings, how to change a tube, and how to adjust shifting and brakes for optimal performance on the trail. In addition, students have been spending time each day riding bikes, with longer rides facing them at the end of the week.
The instructor for this course is Devin Konecny, who has a 15-year background in experimental plasma physics, computer diagnostics, machining, and all-around tinkering with broken items. Throughout this course, Devin has been sharing his passion for riding along with the basic skills needed to maintain any bike worth riding.
Green River expedition — Seven students are canoeing and camping along the Colorado and Green rivers in southeast Utah this week, with participants exploring deep crevices within Canyonlands National Park. Students are learning about natural and cultural history, including geology, plants and animals, Anasazi history, outlaws, and more recent human exploration.
Instructors and guides for the Green River expedition include Eagle Rock Outdoor Education Instructional Specialist Eliza Wicks-Arshack, 2018/2019 Public Allies Teaching Fellow In Residential Life Amelia la Plante Horne, and Nia Dawson, Eagle Rock’s Student Services Program Manager.
Alchemy of Healing: A collective mural — Inthis Explore Week course, students are exploring their own cultural identity by creating and painting transmutation circles in mural form. They have already learned the seven hermetic principles — mentalism, correspondence, vibration, polarity, rhythm, causality, and gender — creating a personal relationship with their own physical, mental, and spiritual planes of existence. These young Eagle Rock School artists are using the half wall in front of a parking area near our on-campus Human Performance Center as their canvas, and busy stenciling, taping, and completing the mural with paint and other material.
The instructor for this course is Adi Tora, an artist from the Innervisions Art Collective, which is a group of women of color who create stories that assist in becoming free. Among her talents is practicing ritual tattooing.
College and career prep tour — This Explore Week group has already visited Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and the University of Colorado in Boulder where they were to meet Bea Salazar-Nuñez, our previous Life After Eagle Rock Instructional Specialist. Students are learning how to apply to colleges that fit their needs, find and apply for scholarships, prepare life budgeting and finances, and create an effective resume. The objective? To help our soon-to-be graduating students develop plans for life after Eagle Rock.
Triplex wrap-up and campus maintenance — Four of our students are working this week on conducting campus maintenance, with a focus on readying our new triplex construction site for this eek’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. In addition, the students are learning what it entails to maintain our campus.
Their instructors include Burt Bowles, facilities supervisor; Terry Tierney, facilities and maintenance assistant; and Joel “Shortz” Ziegler, facilities maintenance assistant. (Editor’s Note: We’ll have a blog post about the new building in the coming weeks.)
The World-Famous Lumpy Circus — Several students are taking advantage of Explore Week to assist in the production of this summer’s performance of the Lumpy Circus at the Estes Valley Community Center. Lumpy Circusis the brainchild of locals Ilah Reynar, an elementary school art instructor, and Joanna Helmuth, former owner of Starflower Dance Company. These two women conceived the notion of a children’s’ circus camp and — with the help of Robert Burkhardt, Eagle Rock’s founding Head of School — brought 20 youngsters between the ages of 4 and 13 together for a two-week workshop.
That resulted in a 45-minute show set to recorded music and performed for parents. Last summer, The World-Famous Lumpy Circus enrolled nearly 40 “Lumpies,” holding two weeks of rehearsals in Estes Park’s new Community Center, followed by an hour-long show at Performance Park in front of 200 people. This summer’s show takes place this Friday, drawing on the film “The Greatest Showman” for its storyline and music.