Tag Archives | Environmental Awareness


Plastic is the New Black – Lillian Johnson

Do you know what you’re wearing? When discussing the natural origin of materials with students, discovering that plastics are typically made from crude oil – the same fossil fuel used to power our cars – is astonishing to most. Revealing that much of their clothing is also made from this same crude oil is nearly […]


Where Have All The Monarchs Gone? – Melissa Mercier

Monarch butterflies are amazing insects; they can change from caterpillar to beautiful winged creatures! What you may not know is they perform a second and equally amazing feat… Monarch butterflies perform a four generation long trek that can total anywhere from 1,200 to 3,000 miles! 1 2 The monarch is the only known butterfly to […]

Hygiene Food in Camp

Winterizing Your Home for Pests – Christina Shores

Ahhhh… yes. Winter. That beautiful time of year when there is nothing better than snuggling up by the fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa and your favorite book, while the snow falls gently outside. Perhaps it is the time of year where you enjoy hearty meals around the dinner table with your family, while […]

Jacques and some penguin friendds.

Jacques Cousteau and High Trails…Trips of Hope – Melissa Mercier

“A trip intended to launch not only learning but hope…” – Jacques Cousteau Jacques Cousteau is known for a lot of different things: film maker, inventor, ‘custodian of the sea’, explorer, and one of the fathers of conservation. In celebration of Jacques Cousteau and the holidays, the Cousteau Society recently released ten documentaries including Cousteau’s […]


Waste Not! Composting Basics – Bryce Bicksler

At the end of my Environmental Awareness class, I pose the question ”What will you do back home to do your part in conservation?” Now these students are not wrong when they say they’ll turn off the water when brushing their teeth or turn out the lights when leaving their room, but what if I […]


Two-Wheeled Simple Pedal Machine – Michael Gibson

Me: “So, ladies and gentlemen, what is an alternate mode of transportation?” Student: “Bicycle!” This is the typical response I receive when prompting students about alternate forms of transportation. It is great that students recognize the bicycle as an alternate form of transportation, but this wonderful two- wheeled device deserves a much more in depth […]


Using Organic Waste to Keep our Lights On! – Nora Finch

Solar panels, wind turbines, hydroelectricity… all of these terms probably ring a bell for most folks interested in renewable energy; and for some time I’ve considered myself someone who falls under that category. However, when I arrived at High Trails, one term that didn’t ring a bell for me was biomass conversion. Early on, I […]


Shake, Fold, and Save – Mark Lisak

I have used thousands (if not tens of thousands) of paper towels in my life to dry my hands. However, I cannot recall one time I have used a paper towel to dry my hands properly. You might be asking yourself “How can someone use a paper towel incorrectly?” All you do is take some […]


Geothermal Energy: It’s a HOT Topic – Meagan Gibson

As an environmental educator, one of the lessons I try to teach my students is how important it is to keep pushing yourself and to keep learning. A lot of us here at High Trails like to do this by listening to informative podcasts in our free time. Recently, I was excited to find that […]


Can Sunscreen Hurt A Baby Seal? Kelsey Wentling

Like any young person dutifully fulfilling their role as a “20-something,” my car is host to an eclectic mix of random junk. In the front seat alone you will find a smooth, hamburger-sized rock I use to hammer in the stakes of my tent, a nearly spent roll of neon pink duct tape, and a […]


How Do You ACT Environmentally Aware? – Jaimie Spetseris

It’s my favorite environmental class at High Trails, and one that instructors are guaranteed to teach the most. In my mind, Environmental Awareness is the glue to all the pieces, the backbone to why care about the environment and perhaps, more importantly, how to care when it may seem our individual actions won’t solve major […]


On the line of Wildfire – Kate Leaf

Exploring the Research on How Fire is Changing the West Late summer of 2013 brought the most destructive day of California’s Rim Fire, when wind and prolonged drought conditions created an inferno that transformed 30,000 acres of dense conifers in Tuolomne County near Yosemite National Park into a moonscape. Ignited on August 17, 2013, from […]


Environmental Justice, Air Pollution and California – Leslie Urban

Our job, as outdoor educators, is to figure out ways to inspire our students, get them excited about the environment, and make a lasting impression. In order to do this, we have to figure out ways to tie everything we do and say back to their lives in the city. Every single one of our […]

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