Have you heard the rumor is that New Mexico is a desert?
Living in the heart of the Jemez Mountains, that rumor couldn’t be further from the truth. Up at nearly 8,000 feet, the matrix of lush meadows and meandering streams guarded on all sides by aspen groves, conifer forests and jagged canyon walls tells me the desert must be in another part of the state.
And, no, spring has not found New Mexico either!
It’s been one week since we settled into Fenton Ranch, the offsite getaway used by a private school in Albuquerque. The school uses the ranch for spring and fall programs, as well summer camp. The ranch becomes a very special place for the students, who come year after year throughout their school years.
Our boss, Jamie, has been showing us the ropes of all the programs and we’ve all been prepping the materials in anticipation for the masses.
Our first group of kids (18 kids at a time) will arrive on Tuesday. The 3 of us will run 4 kindergarten day programs next week, sending the kids on a scavenger hunt that will help them get to know the ranch–from the fire circle to the meadow to the stream to the dorms to the journal circle.
The following week, we will host 4 different groups of first graders for an overnight adventure, complete with hiking, tree identification and composting. J & I developed a Leave No Trace lesson about what items don’t belong in the wilderness and how long they take to decompose (glass bottles=1 million years!!). We also had to brush up on our tree species so we don’t get schooled by a first grader (did you know that the bark of juniper trees used to be used to make diapers??).
Over the course of the last 2 weeks here, the third graders will come for 2 nights and their activities range from canoeing at the local Fenton Lake to hiking to bird identification.
We are certain our time here will go extremely fast, but we also feel we will thoroughly working with Jamie and being at Fenton Ranch!