Snow School

SnowSchool happened this year in Mammoth! Winter Wildlands Alliance sponsors SnowSchool, a travelling curriculum of winter science and ecology lessons applied to outdoor educational opportunities. This winter, Winter Wildlands Alliance worked with Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association to coordinate the event and bring together groups like Friends of the Inyo, Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center, and Mammoth Mountain to get Mammoth Elementary 5th graders out into the winter landsacpe for a day.

We scheduled it twice, and got cancelled due to epic storms, but we made it happen on Tuesday, March 21, even with another big storm. The kids were great- smiles all day and no complaints. Thank you to everyone who made it happen.

Friends of the Inyo’s Ben Wickham led an old McCall Outdoor Science School (where Ben used to teach) classic acitivity: “Meet a tree.” Students partner up, one student is blindfolded or has eyes covered as the other student leads them to a tree. They use their senses (some boys could not resist the urge to taste their tree), and then they’re brought back to the middle. They then open their eyes, and try to “rediscover” which tree they got to know. It’s a great way to observe and learn about the ecosystem around them.

Students also get snow science lessons, explore the watercycle and their watersheds. We also planned a tour of a unique weather station, which allowed students a ride on the gondola at Mammoth Mountain. However, the weather staggered that plan.

The belly slide is always the highlight of the day. Even the adults can’t resist.

All photos by Ben Wickham, except the snow pit photo (Ned Bair) and the kids snowshoeing (David Page).