The students lay looking up at the seemingly endless night sky filled with infinite lights, identifying the magnificent stars and constellations that have guided adventurers for centuries, with the guidance of their teacher. Incredibly, soon after discussing the phenomenon of shooting stars, the flash and trail of one such meteor appeared before their eyes. Indelible memories such as this are hallmarks of the annual eighth grade trip to the Yosemite Institute.
It would be hard to argue that one of the most majestic “classrooms” in the world is Yosemite National Park. For over 25 years, our eighth graders have indeed been fortunate to spend a week actively engaged in field science studies with the sights, smells, and sounds of Yosemite as the backdrop. Providing countless opportunities for rich, inquiry-based learning and team-building activities, the week-long program at Yosemite Institute is a never to be forgotten experience.
Reinforcing the concepts learned over the years in science, the students can actually see the incredible forces and actions of nature. Knowledge of geology, glaciation, natural history, ecology, Native American life, parasitism, watersheds, and the National Park system, among other topics, expand significantly under the tutelage of Yosemite Institute instructors. The students’ team skills, self-confidence and sense of accomplishment also exponentially enlarge as they tackle activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and a trip through the pitch black, confined and physical demanding Spider Cave (the name alone is scary!) Through it all, the students gain greater appreciation for nature, science, and for each other. The truly remarkable week-long experience is one which is anticipated by All Saints’ students for years and surely never forgotten.