JEFFERSON COUNTY - All across the Denver metro area, school districts canceled classes because of the snow forecast. But, at the Outdoor Education Lab near Mount Evans, the snowfall was a welcome teaching tool even though the rest of Jeffco Schools was closed.
"We've had this happen in the past where the entire district is off," said Jon Bromfield, curriculum specialist for the Outdoor Education Lab School. "We actually take pride in that. We're okay."
Bromfield said it is simply safer to keep the kids at the Outdoor Lab rather than send them back home. This week, sixth graders from Hackberry Hill Elementary are taking part in the five-day program to learn about nature in the middle of the mountains.
"Honestly, I am okay with being at school today," said Holly Vose, sixth grader.
Holly says the snow enhances her learning experience.
"Fresh snow can allow animal tracks to be seen because sometimes there will be an animal there and you won't see the track or the animal," said Holly.
Natalie Vondenkamp is a high school leader from Conifer High School spending all semester helping to teach kids at the Outdoor Lab. Vondenkamp is leading students on a nature hike directly into the snow.
"So, when they get to have the experience of coming out and hiking in like almost a blizzard, a spring blizzard, it's an experience that I hope they can remember."
Adam Albert is a sixth grader on the hike with Vondenkamp. At first, Adam says he was upset that he had to continue with school at Outdoor Lab when his brother gets to stay home.
"I was like, oh my brother's pretty lucky, but he's got chores and I don't," said Adam. "This is better than chores any day."
Holly says she's staying home would be much less exciting than what she's doing now like archery in the snow, learning about how snow affects wildfire danger, and hiking into the mountains.
"It's actually been kind of fun," said Holly. "It's not something you really get to do every school day."
Bromfield says the snow and cold only reinforce that safety is the number one priority.
"The hydration is key, keeping dry," said Bromfield.
He says teachers make sure that all students have the proper gear and warm clothes.
"I do the toe trick and we move as much as we can," said Vondenkamp.
After all, there's nothing like a snow day for everyone else to make this one day of school memorable.
"It's going to cement this experience more so than a normal week with beautiful weather," said Bromfield. "This is what we call '40 year learning' today."
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