Fountain Valley School Of Colorado Connects To Nature

FVSC
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Fountain Valley School of Colorado was founded in 1930 at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and serves boarding and day students in 9th to 12th grade.  Fountain Valley’s 1,100 acres have always been central to the School’s mission and identity. The land serves as an outdoor classroom, a venue for athletics and recreation, and an open space to harbor wildlife. A measure of the land’s health is the wildlife population, which is abundant at FVS, including the nesting pair of bald eagles and numerous owl species that have become icons of the school. The views of Pikes Peak offer daily inspiration to all who learn, live, work and play at Fountain Valley School.

108a20aedf683d906f0e1a2cef85c921-huge-fvClasses and study sessions are often conducted in the many outdoor spaces that accommodate our students. The Peaks, Prairies and Plateaus class takes students into the field to learn by doing. Students study the prairie’s ecosystem in this interdisciplinary course and travel to locations like Rocky Mountain National Park and the Picketwire Canyon Dinosaur Tracks to examine their natural and political history. As part of the ecosystems unit for the AP Environmental Science class, 23 students completed the first biodiversity audit of Dillon Pond on campus this year by surveying fish, invertebrates and algal coverage. This fall, the Field Ecology class assessed the population of local grasshoppers and discovered several different species thriving on the prairie. The AP Literature class regularly convenes at one of the two outdoor classrooms built by FVS students as part of a senior project. The Geology elective takes nine field trips into our surrounding area, and students put their hands on more than 2 billion years of rock history. And in September each year, the Western Immersion Program takes sophomores to the Mountain Campus located in the foothills of the Collegiate Peaks to explore the local ecosystem through science, history and art.

In addition to academics, the FVS Dane athletic programs take advantage of our acreage. The cross country team, mountain biking team, outdoor education program, riding program, and fitness training all utilize the miles of trails traversing the open space. The prairie is also widely used by the entire community for recreation, and it is not uncommon to see cross country ski trails dotting the landscape after a fresh snow.

All students attend an Interim during one week in March. This year, Fountain Valley School offers a number of trips that include sustainability.
  • A Puerto Rico trip entitled “Eye on the Rainforest”
  • “Flavor & Savor” in the Colorado Springs and Denver area, which includes environmental issues with food
  • The study of marine biology, botany, oceanography, ichthyology, and subtropical ecology at a research field station on a sparsely populated island 140 miles off the coast of Florida
  • A sailing trip around Catalina Island in Southern California to perform ocean chemistry lab work, including boarding a sea explorer to use oceanographic equipment
  • A Florida Keys excursion including a visit with current researchers in order to spend a day in the life of a marine scientist
  • A “Winter in the Rockies” Interim that travels to Crested Butte, Colo., and partakes in many of backcountry winter activities
  • “Yosemite Nature Trek” to study human impacts on nature, build confidence, and form new connections with each other and the natural world.
 
Each year, Fountain Valley School dedicates a full day of activities to celebrate Earth Day and promote best land management practices on campus.
  • Students have erected raptor poles to naturally rein in the prairie dog population.
  • They built a new dock on the pond to create better access for studies and recreation.
  • To connect the trail systems, students built a bridge across one of the water irrigation channels.
  • FVS has adopted a stretch of local road along the edge of the property along with a portion of Fountain Creek.
 
Along with the opportunities this land so generously offers comes the responsibility to protect it. The new strategic plan and campus master plan, along with holistic land management practices, work together to help sustain Fountain Valley School’s  acreage and ensure its continued health. Ranch Manager Tyson Phillips coordinates irrigation rights to produce hay for the horse herd, and he regularly involves students in ranch work and activities.  Our hope is that our students learn an appreciation for nature and understanding of sustainability.
Posted by Sharon Jaye on Aug 11, 2017 1:52 PM America/Chicago

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