tride academy wins grant​No doubt about it: the Telluride Academy is a wonderful institution. Our roughly 30-year track record of happy families and young people and our growth from six campers in Wendy Brooks’ backyard (literally) to the 800 or so kids we serve today underlines that point. But  the truth is we had very little to do with creating a great deal of the Academy’s allure: unbridled access to the Telluride region, an incredible backyard full of great places to explore and enjoy, from the Valley Floor to Bear Creek and beyond.

However, it is not just location, location, location which makes the Academy great. It is also people and the passion they bring to the table that makes the Academy such a special place to grow and learn.

In 2013, in an effort to continue to “enhance the experience,” we are reaching out to collaborate with a handful of community/regional organizations and individuals so that Academy kids will gain an even deeper understating of and appreciation for those magical places they will inevitably discover with us.

Back again for her third year is Laura Kudo from the Watershed Education Program (WEP).

Laura conducts interpretive hikes along the San Miguel River in a variety of locations, designing her walks for all ages. WEP utilizes the San Miguel River Watershed as a place-based teaching tool to share the history, geology, geography, ecology and environmental sciences of our area with Academy students.

The Pinhead Institute is back for some focused programming in 2013.

That nonprofit leads the charge on both BOOM! and Insect Detectives.Those two scientific adventures utilize the expertise of Pinhead staff to teach kids about the scientific process in a fun and very hands-on environment. For the record, Pinhead is a Smithsonian Affiliate based in Telluride, Colorado, that strives to promote science education locally and globally.

Enrichment takes to the skies again this year as the Academy welcomes back Becky Gillette, Southwest Regional Director from the Audubon Society.

Becky will be an Academy specialist this summer during Session 2, when she will have kids gazing up at treetops and into the clouds to learn all about birds through fun interpretive stations throughout the Valley Floor.

Finally, we are excited to announce our newest partnership with the Mountain Studies Institute, an independent not-for-profit mountain research and education center established in 2002 in Silverton, CO. MSI develops science that people can use to address environmental issues facing the San Juan Mountains.

Through the Mountain Studies Institute, Academy kids will engage in “Citizen Scientist” workshops throughout the high country. Younger students will participate in PikaNet, a citizen science initiative meant to engage people in the monitoring of the American Pika, a high alpine creature considered an indicator species of climate change due to its high vulnerability to warming global temperatures. Participants in our Outdoor Leadership Challenge will spend a day with MSI on Ophir Pass, where they will participate in a service-learning workshop focusing on high alpine wetlands and their restoration.

The Academy truly is blessed to have such an incredible collection of organizations and specialists  willing to share their passions with our students. Through unique approaches such as “place-based learning” and “citizen science” there should be no shortage of engaging learning happening amongst all of Academy’s programs this summer.

We are all about expanding enrichment activities.

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