Latest News, Staff Notes, and GRATITUDE!
Click HERE to read our most recent news update and to see a summary of our fall programs. Learn how you can be involved and support Field Institute of Taos this holiday season. ❤️❄️🌲
Read below to see what Lead Instructors, Malia and Cass, have to say about our FALL Letting Off STEAM sessions.
There’s Magic in the Changing of Seasons Thoughts by Malia
“For years, our programs outside of school field trips have been so summer focused. In early June, we teach the kids about snow and avalanches as we hike, slide, and snowball our way up mountain trails. We identify the changing waves of new wildflowers that appear as the snow melts into new green. We learn to skip rocks over creeks swollen with snow melt. As the summer progresses, we rejoice in finding the season’s first wild strawberries or watching the fat marmots lounge in the sunshine. And then we’re done. Suddenly. Before the temperatures drop, before the leaves start to change, the kids are gone. Back to classrooms often too lacking of the natural world.
But not this year! Manifesting as a beautiful silver-lining of our pandemic life, our autumn “Letting of STEAM!” outdoor education programs were AMAZING! For the first time, our Mountain Camp style of programming merged with the magnificence of fall! Kids on longer weekend hike days traveled through yellow aspens and learned why leaves change color. One particularly ambitious group made it all the way to the top of Lobo Peak…an impressively long and athletic feat!
Some after school programs stayed at Base Camp and utilized the perfect outdoor space there to conduct science experiments and create beautiful nature art. And when it snowed, we didn’t cancel! Why would we?! Snow is the BEST! We made forts, learned about snow crystals and decorated snow angels. And finally, on our last hike of the season, my group carefully navigated our 10th frozen creek crossing, admiring the delicate patterns in the ice.”
And as I watched these kids laugh through their masks at a joke about digital classrooms, I was reminded how RESILIENT our children are. Just like the changing seasons, all of this will pass too.
And when it does, these kids will already be blooming again like spring flowers after the snow melts.”
Fall Observations by Cass
“Watching the snow accumulate on the mountains means one thing: winter is right around the corner! I spent much of the fall leading our new Letting Off STEAM programs on the green grass at Base Camp, sitting in shorts in the sunshine and watching the trees lose leaves each new day. As is always the case, there were some strange and memorable weather experiences. In September, the kids learned about the new FIT weather station just one day before experiencing 30 mile per hour winds at Base Camp. One gust of 54 mph nearly blew even the older boys over! Seeing the new anemometer rage in circles with wind from the west only a day after it was clipping along at a gentle pace in an easterly wind really made an impression on these budding weather watchers.
The October groups had their own weather adventure when a pre-Halloween snowstorm dumped over a foot of snow in some places, leaving Base Camp completely covered in glistening white. Those who braved the roads enjoyed snow games and activities interspersed with a toasty fire in the middle of our winter wonderland. Susie even cross country skied at Base Camp because, well, there was enough snow!
Other notable events included seeing a beautiful fox trotting through the fields at the golden hour and potentially making a kill (rabbit), picking fresh apples off the trees, and building snow sculptures. With time spent observing and exploring the natural beauty that surrounds Base Camp (which will certainly become a new tradition), we also enjoyed some creative pursuits – from puppets to putt-putt, making bird feeders and masks. During a time when so much is different, we had to be creative with how we put on programs this fall, and it was inspiring to see how young people explored their own imaginations.”