Delta County seventh graders traded their traditional classrooms for an outdoor learning environment this week in BLM's Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area. Hundreds of students from Paonia, Hotchkiss, Cedaredge and Delta enjoyed hands-on learning along Escalante Canyon. The joint venture between Colorado Canyons Association, Interpretive Association of Western Colorado, the Nature Connection, BLM and Colorado Parks and Wildlife gave kids exposure to the unique history, geology and biology important to Western Slope values.
Students learned the importance of their cultural heritage with a visit to Smith Cabin. They learned about the natural conditions that formed the unique geological features of the Western Slope. They studied adaptive cactus plant species and the traits that ensure plant survival in harsh conditions. Finally, they capped it all off with a mile hike to Gunnison waterwheel to explore the importance of the Gunnison River.
Thanks to the efforts of state Rep. Millie Hamner, House District 61, Colorado State University plans to re-open the Rogers Mesa research site.
The facility was taken out of operation in 2011, due to budget cuts throughout the CSU system.