| Dru Falco

Wild Times and Wildfire Learning with DCS Montessori

DCS MontessoriCottonwood Institute and DCS Montessori explored Cal-wood through the lens of wildfire for 4 days and 3 nights. Highlights included completing a wildfire mitigation Action Project to help reduce unnaturally destructive wildfires, practicing proper fire-building techniques, playing games, and adventuring around the woods. The group was fortunate to be joined by various experts that taught students how to build shelters, walk quietly at night, identify constellations, learn about burn scars, and what it’s like to be a wildland firefighter — the outdoors truly makes for a spectacular classroom! Gaga ball, camouflage, and wildfire tag were group favorites in between lessons.

The students competed in their cook groups for a unicorn named “Tortino” through a series of fun group games. There was the camp craft relay, which had everyone laughing while students set up a tent blindfolded and competed in a “marshmallow off” or how many layers can one person put on at once. Cook group challenges continued, judged by Erin “Danger” Angel who awarded points for best limbo, flossing, and finally who could eat a tortilla the fastest while being fed by their partner. The Top Chef night yielded an exceptional array of creative dishes and teamwork, which culminated with all cook groups doing their cheers. DCS brought enthusiasm, energy, and joy to the entire trip — all crucial ingredients to a good time for all.

DCS MontessoriThere was plenty of learning that went on as well as students saw first hand the devastation from the Calwood Fire. They learned about how to make these forests healthy again and completed a service project to help the ecosystem come back from the burn. Intentional reflection time at evening circle with sharing gratitudes, sit spots, and journaling helped students absorb more of the experience. Students enjoyed hiking up to Long’s Peak view and doing a night hike around Camp Solitude. One of the biggest lessons of all — that even the best plans can go awry became a big one on the trip. There was lightning, there was rain, and ultimately the trip had to end early because of forecasted snow. The group adapted to these changing conditions and we all had yet another beautiful reminder of the wildness of the outdoors.

Written by CI Field Instructor Jessie Colin

Categories: Action Projects, DCS Montessori

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