SnowSchool Field Update: Science Education Training

With snow already on the ground in many parts of the country the 2018-19 SnowSchool season is off to a strong start! A national program with 65 sites (locations) and an anticipated 34,000 participants across the snow-belt, SnowSchool is powered by the passion and energy of hundreds professional educators and volunteer leaders every winter.  To help SnowSchool educators prepare for teaching so many diverse students we annually provide on-snow field workshops and regional training opportunities. This year with support from  The North Face Explore Fund we’ll reach over 100 educators!  And this winter we’ve broadened these efforts by creating a new webinar and online video series detailing unique SnowSchool science curriculum topics.  Below are a few pictures from some of these events.

(Above: Workshop participants collect and weigh samples of snow. Photo Credit- Heather Inczauskis)

SnowSchool workshop participants gear up and test out their snowshoes in the parking lot of Squilchuck State Park near Wenatchee WA.

As part of a workshop activity Marjorie Lodwick with US Fish and Wildlife and the SnowSchool program in Leavenworth WA measures the thermal gradient of the snowpack.

Educators from Wenatchee School District, Eastmont School District, Cashmere School District, Cascadia Conservation District, WSU 4H Extension, Wenatchee River Institute, Ellensberg School District and the North Central Regional Library participate in the SnowSchool curriculum’s “3 Essential Activities”

A field demonstration of the Snow Water Equivalent Experiment.

Snowshoe hare tracks spotted during one of the workshops.  SnowSchool educators prepare to help students explore curiosity evoking “teachable moments” such as finding animal tracks in the snow.

At the first training event of the season at Bogus Basin SnowSchool program twenty-five community volunteers turned out on a snowy Saturday morning to learn about and brush-up on their SnowSchool skills.  First day of SnowSchool with students is January 8th!

This year SnowSchool launched a new webinar series to provide educators with background information on science topics related to the program curriculum. Already dozens of educators have participated in these sessions during November and December.  Many of the webinars will be recorded and posted here on our Science Resources webpage.

Additional resources on specialized snow science topics are also provided to SnowSchool educators. Click here to watch short video on our Snowpack Dust Experiment.

In October SnowSchool provided a presentation for educators at the annual conference of the North American Association for Environmental Education.  Read more about this here.