| Dru Falco

An Unseasonably Summer Field Day in December With William Smith!

William Smith field day at Roxborough State ParkIn the beginning of December, Cottonwood and the William Smith High School CAP Club in Aurora ventured to Roxborough State Park in Littleton, Colorado. The weather was a warm 65 degrees with sunny skies and not a cloud in sight. As much as we enjoyed the weather, the group decided that the unseasonably warm temperatures were most likely NOT good for our overall climate. This year Denver broke the record for the longest consecutive days without snowfall (over 229 days), previously held by the year 1888. 

The first stop was the visitors center to learn a little bit more about the land formations and species that we would find at Roxborough. Students enjoyed learning about animal scat and anatomy – the biggest hit was the hip bone from a wooly mammoth found near the site! We learned that sandstone is the primary type of rock in the park and is millions of years old. After we had our fill, we decided it was time for us to become the field investigators. With plants, trees, birds, mammals, and scat as nature guides, we felt ready to investigate and identify all that crossed our path. 

Looking out for animals!We set out on the Will Creek and South Rim Loop. It was a glorious journey through trees, open prairies, and on top of a ridge with an open view of the valley and large rock formations. We identified different types of pines, trees, and birds. Notably, we saw a downy woodpecker and a black-capped chickadee, and heard a mysterious *unidentified* animal rustling in the leaves below us. We challenged ourselves to hike silently at times in order to best hear nearby species. Using watercolor paints, we each participated in our own sound mapping activity: we used only our hearing to create an image representing the world around us (eyes closed!). 

In one open area, the group learned the 5 W’s of shelter building–  wind, water, widowmakers, wood, and wildlife. We discussed what areas of the park would be best to set up a tent and what areas would be risky or uncomfortable. Throughout the day, the group learned the 7 Leave No Trace principles and found ways to practice them. During lunch, we challenged the students to a game of “Leave No Trace Charades” to prove they were masters of LNT! 

The group successfully and proudly hiked 3.1 miles in our loop at Roxborough State Park – and was sure tired afterwards! As we ventured back to William Smith, we reminisced on our favorite animal sightings and daydreamed about when our next trip would be.

Check out more photos here!

Written by CAP Instructor Carly Winner

Categories: William Smith

Back to Blog

Comments are closed.