For the month of October, students from STRIVE Preparatory Schools’ Westwood campus participated in a mini-CAP course to explore the world around them and forge a deeper connection to the natural environment. In the beginning of the course, students were excited about getting to go outside at the end of their school day, and they were especially enthusiastic about playing games and exploring the area around their school. They quickly discovered that while the outdoors is fun, they were not fans of sitting in the dirt or discovering “pokey” seed pods on the ground. After some initial practice however, the fun outweighed their concerns, and students were disappointed on cold snowy October days when their teacher, Ms. Mast, and Cottonwood Instructor Jessi Burg decreed that it would be an indoor day.
The students spent several of their mini-CAP classes taking walks around the school and surrounding area. Students discovered that, more than anything else, there was a lot of trash. While some yards would be well maintained, corners, sewers, sidewalks, and vacant lots were all full of trash ranging from candy wrappers to discarded mattresses. Upon walking to the local park, students discovered trash left by visitors marred the beauty of the area. One day, these observations led to a group discussion about where trash goes and how we can clean it up, which then turned into a project to clean up Garfield Lake Park.
Halfway through their mini-CAP course, the students from STRIVE headed to the hills to enjoy time together outside of school on an overnight camping trip. On a crisp fall morning, the students packed up duffle bags and backpacks and loaded into a van for a short ride to Bear Creek Lake Park in Lakewood, Colorado. By experiencing beautiful open space so close to the city, taking action to conserve the environment feels even more relevant for the students.
Once they arrived at their campsite, the crew broke into small groups to set up their tents and make cozy homes for the night. Throughout the entire weekend, the class worked as a well-oiled machine; efficiently completing tasks, staying organized, and helping their peers. Their incredible work ethic left ample time for games, activities, and exploration. The students explored the water, banks, and fields near Turkey Creek by using all of their senses to observe details that usually go unnoticed. While hiking along the winding trails through the park, the students formed extra special bonds with new friends that can only be made while playing outside of the classroom. During a riveting game of Camouflage, one student discovered a snakeskin! Some students became fascinated by beetles and fish, while others slowly worked through their fears of big spiders. Even squishing through the deep mud of a recent flood zone proved to be an empowering experience. It encouraged students to work through concerns of getting dirty to just have fun slipping and sliding through the mud! Everyone continued to make unique connection to the natural world through observation, experience, and sharing.
Throughout the next two weeks, the class will employ their newfound appreciation for the natural world by taking action to clean up Garfield Lake Park, a park close their campus. Stay tuned for updates on how the STRIVE Prep Westwood students are taking action in their community and changing the world!
Click here to see more pictures from their trip.