One of the challenges with studying mountain ecology is that mountain environments change quickly — particularly the weather.
In an attempt to utilize the outdoor classroom of the Rockies, we ventured up Cottonwood Pass yesterday to use the mountain ecosystems as a laboratory for generating observations, questions, and hypotheses. It was the perfect way to test the skills we’ve been developing this past week in class. Both classes combined for a 2-hour block class where we drove up to different elevations of 9,400 then 10,200 and 12,150 feet to observe the differences in abiotic and biotic factors (living and non-living components) in each environment.
It was a beautiful fall day, with cottonwoods turning yellow at lower elevations, and aspen trees beginning to turn red and gold at higher elevations. At the top of Cottonwood Pass, students hiked to a low ridge where we had a little quiet observation time, followed by a group photo. We look forward to returning to these spots to continue observing the mountain ecosystems and designing and testing our hypotheses as the seasons change throughout the year. Overall, it was a great day!
-Christian, Link School Science Teacher