A girl laughs while sledding through the snow

Mission Moment: What’s it Like Seeing Snow for the First Time? 


Snow is spectacular. That’s one thing most folks seem able to agree on. But seeing it for the first time ever, that’s beyond special. At Keystone Science School, we are beyond humbled to introduce at least a handful of students from around the state and country to snow for the first time each school year.

From September to May, KSS transforms into an outdoor learning center for K-12 schools seeking science-based field trips. Our outdoor education instructors lead students on hikes and tours of the area as they teach lessons from one of our curriculum areas: aquatic ecology, forest ecology, geology, watersheds & water management, snow & avalanche science, and winter ecology & adaptations. Whether schools visit us in the fall, winter, or spring, chances are they may encounter some snow.

In early October, we hosted a group of six students from the New America School of Lowry. New America is a system of schools in Colorado that serves immigrant families seeking to perfect their English and earn a high school diploma. During their visit, both the students and our team of instructors were pleasantly surprised by some snowfall. Joel, one of the instructors for that group, described the magic of the moment: “No one complained; the smiles on their faces told it all. As soon as there was enough snow on the ground, they started making snowballs.”

The changing environment in the woods that the group hiked through also served as a great opportunity for an ecology lesson: the group played a game where one student closes their eyes as the others try to sneak closer. The idea is to use sense other than sight to try and detect the moving bodies around you. The students observed how even a light dusting of snow could mask other noises and make footsteps stand out amidst the silence.

Sometime later, Joel said, it was time to turn around and head back to campus. Not a single student wanted the day to end. They all wanted to stay outside, amidst the flurries.