Expanded learner program (ELP) students from Orange Elementary and the Dr. Walter Cunningham School of Excellence received the experience of a lifetime during their last week of school. Led by Stacey Snyder, ELP teacher, the group traveled to northeast Iowa to explore the wildest terrain in the state. The geographical area is referred to as ‘driftless’ due to its numerous caverns, groundwater springs, algific slopes, and sinkholes which were created by the area’s lack of glacial coverage. Typically, glacial deposits are found in locations once covered with glacial ice; these deposits are commonly known as drift.
“Iowa is considered perhaps the most changed state in the United States, so allowing kids to experience places that are less impacted by human change is significant,” said Snyder.
Throughout the trip, ELP fifth graders were filled with questions about fossils, geology, nature, and more. According to Snyder, that curiosity and desire to learn is what this field trip was all about.
“As I tell them, the world needs you!” said Snyder. “I am so appreciative that the Foundation supported this trip for my ELP students. My friend Connie believed in the power of these places to transform kids, I and I do too.”
The field trip was made possible because of the Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation, which awarded Snyder with its Wilderness Education Grant, covering the expenses of the class’s day-long wilderness excursion. The Wilderness Act of 1964 defines wilderness as a place where the earth and its communities of life are left unchanged by people, where the primary forces of nature are in control, and where people themselves are visitors who do not remain.
“I have never seen something so amazing in Iowa,” said Wren Lampman, fifth-grade ELP student. “I hope that everyone one day will know what something wild is.”