By Michelle Velbis – Colorado Springs, Colorado … Building forts, bird watching, hiking, playing in a stream, building windmills, and learning about renewable resources…sound like a day at school?

For six students at Springs Adventist Academy (SAA), this was part of their outdoor education field trip to the Catamount Institute in Colorado Springs.

What was their favorite part? “All of it,” said fifth grader, Andrew Parris.

Michelle Velbis, principal and middle school teacher at SAA commented on outdoor school: “I have a classroom of six young men, so getting them outside learning about their environment and interacting with it and each other was about as educational and fun as you can get.”

Some of the boys had never built forts outside before and were enjoying themselves while learning. “Building the shelter and learning some survival skills was my favorite part of the field trip,” commented Elonzo Lujan, seventh grader.

“Watching the young people work together to build forts was really nice to see,” said Sylvia Jaramillo, grandmother to students at SAA.

“Being out in nature and reinforcing our science and Bible lessons was such a blessing. During this time of COVID-19 and other stressful events, it felt right to let the young people find some reprieve from all of that and soak up God’s creation,” said Velbis.

Michelle Velbis is principal and middle school teacher at Springs Adventist Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado; photos supplied