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Bequest will ensure the future of KSS Campership Program

Keystone Science School is honored to announce an important bequest to the Endowment Fund from a truly remarkable couple, Patricia (Patti) and Joel Meier. Patti and Joel’s Endowment bequest in honor of Bill and Jane Berman, cofounders of Meier SkisKeystone Resort, will benefit Keystone Science School’s Campership program, ensuring that deserving children are able to have a KSS Camp experience for generations to come.

The Meiers have dedicated their lives and legacy to outdoor recreation, conservation, and education. Avid adventurists, Patti and Joel have set foot on all seven continents as mountaineers as well as whitewater and ocean kayakers who have undertaken expeditions from Nepal to Greenland and Russia to Belize. They’ve even motorcycled throughout North, Central and South America as well as New Zealand, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and the Italian Alps.

But Patti and Joel’s commitment to the natural world doesn’t stop with their own adventures.

Patti has spent her career in dental hygiene working hard to ensure access to care as well as prevention of disease and health education. She devoted 40 years of her life to consulting with Head Start, Migrant Programs, and the Indian Health Service, providing training and technical assistance under the American Indians Program Branch Interagency Agreement. Patti also spent many years as a ski instructor in Montana as well as locally for Vail Resorts at Beaver Creek and Keystone.

Joel devoted his career to environmental education. At The University of Montana, Dr. Meier was Professor and Coordinator of the Recreation Management Degree Program and also served as Associate Dean of the College of Forestry and Conservation from 1970 to 1994. At Indiana University he served from 1994 to 2007 as Professor and Chair of the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies. But what really connects Joel to KSS might have been his time as an Outward Bound Training Officer for the Peace Corps in Puerto Rico.

Patti and Joel are active environmentalists and philanthropists. They have endowed academic chair positions at both Indiana University and The University of Montana.

The Patricia and Joel Meier Legacy:
• The Patricia and Joel Meier Outdoor Leadership Chair, Indiana University School of Public Health
• The Patricia and Joel Meier Chair of Education, Indiana University Art Museum
• The Patricia and Joel Meier Wildland Recreation Management Chair, College of Forestry and Conservation, The University of Montana
• The Patricia and Joel Meier Scholarship Fund, National Outdoor Leadership School
• The Dr. Joel Meier Scholarship Fund, Montana Trails, Recreation and Park Association
• The Patricia and Joel Meier Endowed Campership Fund in Honor of Bill and Jane Bergman at Keystone Science School

Like Patti and Joel, you have the opportunity to shape the future by including a gift to benefit KSS in your will or estate plans. Gifts through wills are easy and have tax benefits. To learn more about planned giving, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Accidental Scientist

EArth Science Blog

In October of 2011, I had the opportunity to go to Keystone Science School for a few days with my 6th grade class. I couldn’t wait to go and explore new ideas and places! Our class was split up into small groups, and we did everything from team-building activities, to learning about the earth, to hiking up a mountain. Even today, four years after my trip, I still think about my experience with KSS and how it impacted me.

This experience was so memorable for me because I finally discovered my true passion for Earth Science and being in nature. The first day we arrived, my group went over to Dillon Reservoir and I was immediately amazed. The reservoir was surrounded by beautiful mountains and the sky perfectly accented the reservoir in a way that made the lake picture perfect.

But my favorite part of the trip was going on an all-day hike with my group. We hiked up a mountain until we reached a resting area with a breath-taking view and had the privilege of eating our lunch there. I couldn’t stop staring at all of the yellow aspen trees that had turned for the fall. When we reached the peak we took time to study different kinds of rocks and trees.

Being able to learn about the earth hands-on sparked my interest in earth science. Since my trip, I have taken an honors class in earth and environmental science. The opportunity to interact with nature and learn about the earth with KSS has inspired me to pursue Earth and Environmental Science in college and maybe even as a career. It has made me appreciate Colorado even more and look forward to any opportunity I get to go to the mountains.

Inside Key Issues Institute


The Best Kind of Summer School

Group photo top of keystone

Many people may think that summer vacation for teachers is just that, a vacation. While it may be true that we get to trade in our laptops for lounge chairs, some of us choose to use this time for recharging our lessons and attending professional development sessions.

I have attended many such workshops and classes in my years, but none can compare to the experience I just had at Keystone Science School in Keystone, Colorado thanks to the generous support of the Alcoa Foundation.water testing

The week-long training, called Key Issues Institute, focused on environmental issues and how we as teachers can present the issues in nonbiased ways. While the lessons and information were well created and planned out, the truly magical aspect of this trip came from the real-world, hands-on experiences.

Groups ventured out to areas along the French Creek to analyze the water quality with tests such as pH, velocity, oxygen levels, and aquatic organisms.

We engineered trams while focusing on ways to optimize the 3E's - [social] Equity, Economic opportunity, and Environmental sustainability. 

The lessons and activities presented all had an interdisciplinary component that made them applicable to teachers of various subjects. STEM concepts were presented and applied throughout the week.

Our week of learning came to an end too fast, but we all took with us the excitement and passion of 30 new friends and resources from all over the world. We are all so grateful for the sponsorship from Alcoa Foundation that brought all of us together and made this incredible experience possible!

Training to Inspire

Sunrise hike web

All teachers work hard to prepare lesson plans that will help their students achieve academic success. What makes a teacher an educator is the ability to not only teach, but to inspire his or her students. They inspire a love of a learning, a desire to work as a team, and the self-confidence to ask tough questions and seek real solutions. Key Issues Institute is called an Educator Program for a reason. The frameworks we've developed, the lessons we share, and the attitude we foster turns teachers into educators. 

Our latest group came to us from all across the US with very different backgrounds and specialities, but they all shared the same eagerness to learn new skills, reinvigorate their teaching, and learn from one another. They came ready to learn and they left inspired. We have no doubt that every one of them will spread that contagious inspiration in their own classrooms.

Read how one of our educators, Jennifer Coll, found her inspiration at Key Issues. 

Thank you to Duke Energy and all our sponsors for bringing Jennifer and many more amazing educators to Keystone Science School.