Colored Leaves and Good Friends
On October 4th, 2018, 19 students from Ms. Lemke’s class at Peaks School visited the Arizona Trail on the San Francisco Peaks to view the changing leaves.
Students started their hike at the Aspen Loop trailhead. We walked through tunnels of beautiful peaking fall leaves to a warm and sunny spot in a meadow. Here we learned some Arizona Trail basics, relevant Leave No Trace Ethics for the day and, read a little about the geologic history of the San Francisco Peaks.
We continued our hike another mile down the trail where we stopped for a snack and some games. Students played Silent Lineup and the Bell Game as part of our team building and mindfulness work for the day.
Another mile down the trail we stopped for lunch and a view overlooking The Nature Conservancy Hart Prairie Preserve. Here we ate, took a mindful moment, and observed the Aspen Island and Bebb Willow community below us.
On our hike back we paused to play a round of Camouflage, a hide and seek game that mimics the way predators stalk their prey. We also learned to use a dichotomous key to identify various conifers of the area. For most Flagstaff children, if there is one tree they know how to identify it is the Ponderosa Pine. We become so used to seeing a conifer and immediately thinking, “Ponderosa!” It is a fun discovery to learn that there are many types of conifer trees at higher altitudes and to slow down our eyes enough to observe the differences.
In our years running Seeds of Stewardship outings, I have never met a group as excited, engaged, and full of wonder at the opportunity to be outdoors to explore and learn as this class. What a wonderful group to work with. I can’t wait to adventure with them again!