The Centaurus High School CAP Class had a fun-filled Field Day at Hall Ranch Open Space just southwest of Lyons. Having learned about Leave No Trace (LNT) principles in class, students exemplified the first principle, Plan Ahead & Prepare, by packing a delicious lunch, making sure they had enough water for a day hike and packing appropriate layers according to the weather forecast: rain turning to snow! A bus ride filled with laughter and pterodactyl noises brought the CAP class to the trailhead. In case you are wondering where the pterodactyl noises were coming from, pterodactyl is a game involving “passing” the word “pterodactyl” around in circle without showing your teeth or laughing — quite the challenge!
After a fun name game and safety briefing, the CAP class headed out on a loop through the rolling grasslands and interesting rock formations of Hall Ranch. Very shortly, students spotted scat near the edge of a trail. Dry, furry and easily seen—most definitely a coyote! Right next to it in the dried mud, another student spotted a deer print. Throughout the day, students saw many mule deer, with their large ears and big eyes observing the students with as much curiosity as students were observing them. The CAP class stopped for lunch on some sandstone buttes which then became a workshop space for whittling and learning how to make cordage from yucca fibers. After some more whittling and exploration, the CAP class looped back toward the trailhead where they found the best spot to play camouflage.
Now, if you’ve never played camouflage, just know it is one of the best games in the universe. It consists of embodying your inner mountain lion and stalking another student as your prey. If the prey sees you during the first two rounds of hiding, you are out. If you make it all the way to the third round, you can sneak up as quietly as possible to catch your prey. This game made students realize the dynamics of predator-prey interactions as well as using different senses to survey your surroundings. As the rain started to fall, the CAP class reconvened under a shelter to enjoy a warm, delicious dinner of ramen, peppermint tea and Tim Tam slams for dessert. What a great end to a fantastic day!
Written by Cottonwood Institute Instructor Camille Zwaan
See more photos from the trip here!
CAP at Centaurus High School is made possible in part by a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) through the Nature Kids/Jovenes de la Naturaleza program. Click here to learn more!