Picture Canyon Explorations

One September 10, 2018, 120 students from The Mount Elden Middle School APEX program visit Picture Canyon in Flagstaff along the Arizona Trail Elden Mountain Passage.


With such a large group we need to divide things up. So one group started the day with a tour of the Wildcat Hill Wastewater Treatment facility where they learned about the process of treating water for its release back into the watershed and the clean water act. The other group joined Seeds of Stewardship leaders for a 3.5 mile hike around the Picture Canyon Loop.


On our hike students learned about gravity and gradient and how a gradient change impacts the velocity of the waterflow. They discussed the types of nutrients present in reclaimed water that cause plant growth to be very high and the importance of this riparian area for wildlife in such an arid place.


We toured ancient petroglyphs and speculated about how the residents of this area would have handled and processed their own waste and garbage compared to what we do now. How would they have met their needs? Why would this place be attractive as a home site?


On our way back up to swap with the other group we paused for a mindful moment in the shade and looked for evidence of riparian animals on our walk.


Classes large and small benefit form time outside. Time to disconnect from everything else and experience the world out of the walls of home, school, and car. Time to consider the people who called this place home long before we arrived.