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Logan Charter School Takes Students On ‘Experiential Learning’ Trips

LOGAN, Utah – A charter school in Cache County has made an extra effort to get students learning outside the classroom, even if it means making fields trips a few days long.

They were at Grand Teton National Park Friday, on a trip designed to get them up-close with science.

Fifth-graders from the Edith Bowen School in Logan were examining Kelly Warm Springs at the park, helping gather to scientific data.

Page Fery and several other graduate students from the Teton Science School from Jackson Hole, Wyoming helped lead them.

“We have the most beautiful landscape to do this in, which is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Fery.

The students were helping park rangers study invasive species of tropical fish that have been dumped in the area.

“It’s not some abstract concept in a textbook,” said Eric Newell, director of experiential learning at the school. “It’s real, and they see the application for it.”

The trip was just one piece of the program. The school recently started taking 6th graders rafting down the San Juan River in the southeast corner of Utah, in an area where they can learn about ancient Native American civilizations.

Newell said he believed public schools can do this kind of thing, as well, by prioritizing funding.

“They have to do the hard things, and they have to work together. (The students) learn a lot of really important collaborative skills,” said Newell of the program.

Students said it’s more fun than a textbook.

“When I was little, I wanted to touch my fish that we had, but I wasn’t able to – but now I can tough the fish,” said Quincy Shaefer.

The students could end up like Fery, who went on the same trip as a high school senior years ago.

“I’m hoping other students might get inspired, and want to be scientists teachers later on,” said Fery.

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