New View of the AZT

On March 6, 2019, 60 students from Mount Elden Middle School 6th grade met with SOS educator at the Picketpost trailhead to view and experience a passage of the Arizona Trail very different from the ones they are used to in Flagstaff. 


Students had the opportunity to take a 1 mile hike to explore the desert ecology and experience a completely different part of the trail. Along the hike we stopped a few times to play some games and activities that taught Leave No Trace Ethics and allowed them to debate the relative merits of various LNT practices. Is it more important to pack out toilet paper, or refrain from carving in trees? Which is worse, dogs off leash or disturbing archeological resources? In truth all of these ethics are important of course, but getting to hear your peers defend their position can help explain why seemingly “harmless” acts can be very upsetting for someone else. 


At the apex of our hike we settled into the shade with our hand folded paper books to observe. Students made lists of observations first up close and then far away. They were asked to free-form jot down any adjectives they could think of that described the area directly in front of them, and later the vista in the distance. They then made comparisons between the two. Finally they were asked to express how the things they were observing made them feel either in written or picture form. 


Overall, a nice chance to stretch the legs after and long bus ride and encounter something out of the everyday.