Last week, the entire 5-6 cohort ventured to Crested Butte from Monday through Thursday for science in the field, hosted by World Leadership School and supplemented by EMS faculty. Traveling by van, donning masks and accompanied by a few parents toting gear, the students arrived on Monday to the aptly named ‘Oh, Be Joyful!’ campsite in Butte, pitched tents, and set up dinner. They were at approximately 9,000 feet, and temperatures dipped well below freezing at night, so they needed to be mindful of their gear. WLS school has access to the RMBL Lab above Crested Butte, which is protected under a conservation easement with Colorado Open Lands and allows scientists and students to convene for remote ecological research on 270 acres away from development. Formed in 1928 in the abandoned mining town of Gothic, the lab’s natural landscape in the headwaters of the Elk Range’s East River has hosted landmark research into wildlife, insects, habitats, soil, water ecology and the roaming impacts of climate. On Tuesday, the students hiked above 10,000 ft to the Mexican Cut Preserve where they found and studied local salamanders in their native habitat. Wednesday included group work at the lab, and students divided their time between different modes of study. One group worked on anthecology (the study of pollination) by observing plants specific to the region, and specifically formulated questions that they could implement in the field. For instance, one such question was ‘What is the average circumference of an aspen tree?” and students then plotted out ten square meters, counted the aspens therein, and went about measuring their trunks so as to hypothesize a reasonable answer. The other group went down to the river to find and observe macroinvertebrates, such as the larvae of caddisflies, mayflies, and stoneflies, since the relative frequencies of such species help to indicate the health of the water ecosystem. All students completed both study groups, then adjourned for a dinner of Mac and Cheese, followed by the writing and sharing of their reflections. The next morning marked the end of what felt like a short week, since they had greatly enjoyed themselves. They spent their last couple of hours on site building watershed models using different types of soil, sand, and small rocks, which they fashioned into miniature canyons atop small trays. Then, they tested their models by applying water to observe its natural routes downhill and its effects on the topography. After lunch, they filed back into the vans for the trip back to school. The whole of the project was likewise an example of innovation and flexibility, as both faculty and students reacted to the necessary limitations of the pandemic and made the best of the situation. All meals were prepared in advance by parents, and the group ate off of paper plates using disposable silverware – less than ideal options within a unit focused on environmental impact, but still far superior to reading from a textbook or staring at Zoom. One student seemed to speak for the whole when she remarked, “I had a great time. The trip created so many memories, and I would definitely want to go again. It was super fun to learn in a new location and to hang out with friends.”