Exploring a Snowy Forest

It’s been a bitterly cold weekend/week in New Mexico, but we didn’t let this put a damper on last Monday’s science exploration. We donned snowshoes and explored the Santa Fe National Forest around Truchas with half of the 7th graders from McCurdy Charter School.

For most of these kids it was the first time they’ve worn (or ever seen) snowshoes!

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Man, these things make my feet look big!
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Wait… how do I put these on my feet?
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With a little help from their friends, our students got the hang of it.

A big part of the trip was simply learning how to move around in snowshoes. It’s a very different form of winter transportation.

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Getting a little advice on staying warm from the expert.
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Grouping up to get going

Once everybody got the hang of walking in snowshoes (or at least after everybody had their fill of falling down in the cold snow), we moved on to the science topics of the day.

We talked about trees.

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Smelling a Ponderosa pine
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A very different type of tree
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Examining a pine cone

We talked about tracks.

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Looking for tracks on a south-facing slope
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Mouse tracks disappearing into a hole
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Mouse tracks running from hiding spot to hiding spot.

We talked about snow.

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A cohesive layer of snow, thanks to the sun.
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Looking at snow crystals with a crystal card and a loupe

Of course, we also spent quite a bit of time simply enjoying the peace and solitude of the forest in winter.

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Despite temperatures in the teens, our students had a great time exploring the forest. After all of this hiking around, we enjoyed hot chocolate and apple cider before boarding the bus to return to school.

We’re very grateful to our partners at PEEC for loaning us the snowshoes and making this trip possible!

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