This was a first for me. Yesterday I was invited to hike up to a B-17 bomber crash site just North of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Hiking with 70+ people was quite an experience. Half the hike was in the snow, slipping and sliding along the trail. This wasn't an easy hike. Very few complaints. I had to take care of a few blisters along the way. The students had a zillion questions. We discussed the difference between bobcat and coyote tracks, the connection between a double top lodgepole pine tree and porcupines, and which animals are the first to capitalize on the pine beetle damage. To see this all firsthand was a treat for all of us. I was smiling all day.

Next June I'll be working with staff from the school to provide a real science opportunity for the students. They'll be thinning a stand of lodgepole pine to create a better environment for tree growth and wildlife habitat. This has become one of my primary passions as we work with students.

The three new R's:

Real Science, Real Students, Real Results.

I've found that when students are working on real stuff they put ten times more energy into the work and the retention rate on what they learn beats book learning hands down. Don't get me wrong, a solid academic foundation is critical, but I believe that foundation can be created in a much richer way than is happening for most youth today.

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