RMCNews with IAANews – Grand Junction, Colorado … The classroom moved to the great outdoors during the final week of September when students from Intermountain Adventist Academy (IAA) and Delta Adventist School joined together to explore nature, rediscover pioneer tasks, bond with new friends, and have fun.

The week began early for IAA’s elementary students (K-4) on Sunday when they joined the Adventurer club and spent the afternoon on the Grand Mesa hiking around the lake and completing a scavenger hunt by finding algae, mushrooms, rose hips, currants, arthropods, and more. The day concluded with a trip around Beaver Lake in rowboats.

“It was an amazing time because I love God’s nature,” Mason, fourth-grader, expressed enthusiastically.

The fun learning experience continued the next day at the arboretum located at the Mesa County Fairgrounds. Two horticulturists from the Colorado State University Extension school program guided the group around the gardens. The students tried their hand at grinding corn and were only able to grind enough to make 1.5 corn muffins.

Reflecting on the skills they learned, Daniel, a second-grader, commented, “It was hard for people a long time ago because they used rocks to grind corn.”

Outdoor learning concluded for the elementary school on Tuesday, when they explored Cross Orchards Farm Historic Site in Grand Junction. Students toured the farm, learned some Colorado history, saw an old-fashioned, hand-cranked apple cider press, tasted some freshly-squeezed cider, and explored an old restored train.

“You get to go sightseeing to learn the things people might have used to work, live, and stay alive. I learned that you could ride in a train caboose that has seats that you climb a ladder to get to! I hope you can go there,” Gemma, fourth-grader said.

While the elementary students explored The Western Slope with day field trips, the middle school (5-8) joined Delta Adventist School for a retreat at New Beginnings Ranch in Norwood, Colorado.

They spent time learning about water ecology, examining life in a pond through the lenses of microscopes, picking up survival skills such as building a fire, going on hikes, and facedfacing the rock-climbing wall.

The boys were very gentlemanly as they slept outdoors in tents so the girls could enjoy the comforts of the cabins.

Joining the students on their adventure was Nathan Cranson, pastor of the Montrose church, who led the group in morning and evening worship, guiding them through Bible study on the topic of “In God We Trust.”

Reflecting on the event, a teacher commented that “this experience encouraged the kids to appreciate the outdoors, learn teamwork, and build a closer friendship with Jesus.”

— RMCNews with IAANews; photos supplied