I believe that life is about collecting experiences and friends, not money and laurels.”

– National Geographic Expert Cedar Wright

 

We can’t believe it’s already over! While watching fireworks from the flatirons on July 4th, we had a chance to reflect upon the adventures we have had, the challenges we overcame, and the friends we have made in such a short time together. The highlights of the trip were the hikes at 12,000ft in Rocky Mountain National Park, learning to rock climb with Nat Geo expert Cedar Wright, practicing our street photography during a scavenger hunt on Pearl Street, touching ice cores at CU Boulder’s Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research, learning about human land use in East Africa from Nat Geo expert Joel Hartter, learning how to stand up paddle board, and playing games together on campus. We learned how to find the humor in challenges, had a chance to think critically about climate change and wildlife conservation, were inspired to get involved in projects to combat the negative effects of climate change, and reflected on the importance of collecting memories and making good friends.

Below are some pictures of our favorite memories:

Students loved exploring nearby Rocky Mountain National Park- hiking to over 12,000 feet!  Students admired the appreciate of all things living in the park- from small wildflowers to grand pine trees and enjoyed learning about the role of climate change in the health of parks.  Photo by trip leader Larson Harley.

Students loved exploring nearby Rocky Mountain National Park- hiking to over 12,000 feet! Students admired the appreciate of all things living in the park- from small wildflowers to grand pine trees and enjoyed learning about the role of climate change in the health of parks. Photo by trip leader Larson Harley.

This week we learned to rock climb and shared stories with our Nat Geo Expert, Cedar Wright. The first time climbing for many of us, we enjoyed the challenge of trying new routes, cheering each other on, and spending the day within the flatirons of Boulder.  Photo by student Claire B.

This week we learned to rock climb and shared stories with our Nat Geo Expert, Cedar Wright. The first time climbing for many of us, we enjoyed the challenge of trying new routes, cheering each other on, and spending the day within the flatirons of Boulder. Photo by student Claire B.

Friday we worked with a team studying pika in the alpine. Half of the group hiked the two mile trail with an elevation gain of 2,000 feet. We were greeted with spectacular views, as well as a curious marmot.  Photo by student Danny F.

Friday we worked with a team studying pika in the alpine. Half of the group hiked the two mile trail with an elevation gain of 2,000 feet. We were greeted with spectacular views, as well as a curious marmot. Photo by student Danny F.

Hiking in the beautiful Flat Irons with Nat Geo expert Joel Hartter.  Due to the late winter Colorado had, we saw wildflowers in bloom and admired the yellow, red, purple, and white petals peaking out of the grasses. We held trail-side botany lessons, saw deer and rabbits bound about, and learned the complexities between photographing light and shadow in outdoor landscapes!  Joel challenged us to think about how local people matter when striving to find solutions to conservation issues.

Hiking in the beautiful Flat Irons with Nat Geo expert Joel Hartter. Due to the late winter Colorado had, we saw wildflowers in bloom and admired the yellow, red, purple, and white petals peaking out of the grasses. We held trail-side botany lessons, saw deer and rabbits bound about, and learned the complexities between photographing light and shadow in outdoor landscapes! Joel challenged us to think about how local people matter when striving to find solutions to conservation issues.