What do you do on campus?
I am a science teacher at CRMS, as well as the alpine ski team coach, dorm team leader for the seniors, advisor to an awesome group of senior girls, and service crew and trip leader.
Why is fieldwork an important experience for high school scientists?
The opportunity for experiential and place-based learning at CRMS is unparalleled. Situated at the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Crystal Rivers, our science classes monitor and analyze water quality and riparian health, lead ecological restoration projects, and act as stewards of the land in their work crews and Scholarship Work Day. Not only does fieldwork connect students to real-world learning, but it forges a relationship with the landscape around them. The campus’ streambank restoration, osprey nest, observation beehive, and aquaponics system projects are examples of solutions-based learning in action. We prepare students with the scientific language and skills necessary to continue a life of inquiry and investigation; inside and outside of a classroom.
What has been your favorite memory at the School so far?
I love so much of what I do at CRMS that it is difficult to pick one favorite memory, but recently, one stands out. The Aspen Valley Land Trust (AVLT) approached my environmental science classes about the problem of cattle overgrazing the riverbanks in the North Pasture. This was the cattle’s only access to water for several months of the year, but the riparian area was suffering from erosion and invasive species as a result. This collaboration with AVLT was a two-year project that culminated with more than 100 students involved in designing and proposing alternative water access for cattle on campus and restoring the riparian area. In April, students and faculty volunteered by digging holes, preparing and planting the cottonwood poles, selecting the sites, and removing barbed wire and trash from the sensitive and critical habitat. Seeing a student-led project at this scale succeed beyond anyone’s expectations, as well as partnering with AVLT, grew the community and our confidence that we can make a difference.
What is your favorite thing about coaching the Alpine team?
Alpine ski racing is a sport that requires discipline, hard work, and a healthy love of skiing fast. Anyone can straight-line a hill, but the first time an athlete carves or links a perfect turn is a pretty special feeling. The ski team has grown to almost twenty participants for dryland and on-hill training and racing. Sharing my love of the sport with athletes who are willing to put in the extra effort and support each other makes all of the early mornings and cold feet worth it!