A group of Helena Middle School students recently returned from an expedition into the heart of Yellowstone National Park.
The 26 students of the Expedition Yellowstone Club spent four days in the park where they learned about park history, the ecosystem and geology that makes Yellowstone unique.
The students stayed at the YCC dorms at Mammoth Hot Springs. While there, they had to prepare their own meals and surrender their cell phones.
“They’re forced to talked to each other and discuss what they’re learning,” said Helena Middle School teacher Cassie Koch.
Koch organized the group and said the trip is an unparalleled teaching experience for the students providing real, hands-on learning that can’t be done in a classroom.
“They get to scoop up water from the hot springs and test the pH level and monitor bacteria,” said Koch. “That’s just not something that can be done in a classroom.”
Reaching a lot of their learning experiences required the students to strap on snowshoes and hike for miles.
Eighth-grader Kendall Klemp said one of her favorite parts was snowshoeing to thermal features and learning how they form.
“We mainly focused on the hot springs, which are like all these layers of rocks that form over thousands of years so it’s just like very interesting to see how beautiful stuff can form naturally and not manmade,” said Klemp.
Melaina Kloberdanz said this was unlike any learning experience she’s ever had.
“It was very interactive,” explained Kloberdanz. “We were working as a team, maybe with other people you never really talk to. It was a lot of fun.”
Joey Seliskar said the whole trip is an experience he’ll never forget.
“We were up on this hill and we could see for miles and miles,” said Seliskar. ”We spotted a lot of bison, elk, and a really big bighorn sheep.”
Expedition Yellowstone Club raised $8,000 for the trip and want to thank the community for the opportunity to make this journey.
Because of the support the group received, they were able to make sure every student, no matter the income level, was able to go.
-Reported by John Riley/MTN News