If my class received some money for a field trip, I would use it to go to Yellowstone. It would be the perfect place for a field trip because we would have oodles of exciting adventures.
First of all, we would be able to observe many different species of wildlife in their natural habitats. If we were lucky, we might discover bears, elk, buffalos, coyotes, and maybe even wolves. When I visit the Park, I love to find a perch high on a hill and glance across the vast valley at all the animals. I set up my spotting scope and peer at distant herds of buffalo being stalked by wolves. Once I even spied litter of wolf pups leave their den and frolic in a green grassy meadow while their babysitting wolf chased after them. Sometimes the animals are nearby, and you don’t even need the scope. One of the most thrilling scenes I saw was a grizzly mama and her two cubs foraging on the side of a steep hill just below the road. We watched and waited anxiously with a crowd of other observers to see what she would do next. Then suddenly…CHARGE! She galloped up the hill with her two cubs chasing behind her and crossed the road fifty feet in front of me! You just can’t appreciate wildlife in a classroom like you can in real life! That’s why I know that our class would love this field trip!
At Yellowstone, we could spend our days trekking through the forest with the rangers, and savoring the scenery. If we took the Indian Pond hike with a ranger, we would start out beside the sparkling blue-green waters of Indian Pond. On a sunny day, the reflection of the Absaroka Mountains would reflect off the still waters. We might hear the snorting or huffing of a nearby solitary buffalo. We would notice pink and purple wildflowers sprinkled throughout the meadow as we advanced further down the trail and into the towering pine forest. Just about that time, the BEWARE OF BEARS sign would grab our attention, and we’d remember to clang sticks together and talk loudly as we walked, so we wouldn’t surprise any bears. Finally, we would emerge from the forest to the water’s edge. Lake Yellowstone would be shimmering in the sunlight before us, a magnificent reward for efforts. Our class could spend the afternoon drawing or painting nature. We could even bring our writing spirals and describe what we see!
But beautiful scenery isn’t the only reason to go on hikes. Imagine how much we would LEARN about animals, plants, and the geography of Yellowstone. On our hike, the ranger would explain how Indian Pond was formed thousands of years ago by an explosion of hot gases and water. Rocks and boulders would have shot up into the sky scattering in all directions leaving a crater like formation. Over time, it filled up with water and became a pond. In the forest, the ranger would explain that sometimes fires can actually be good, because it helps pine cones to release their seeds so new trees can grow. The ranger would point out different species of pines and we would examine their needles. And we can’t forget about the bears! The ranger would give us safety tips about traveling through bear country and being guests in their home!