Grand Canyon Semester: Field Trip Destinations
field trip destinations change from year to year because we follow
opportunities as they arise and try to match some of the trips with specific
student interests. Some years students
are more interested in spending time with Native American tribes while in other
years they are drawn to wildlife on the Kaibab Plateau. We can’t promise that GCS 2014 will visit the
exact same places as we’ve gone in the past, but can promise that the
destinations will be just as beautiful, complicated, thought-provoking, and
inspiring as the samples shown here.
What was the most informative, education and eye-opening experience for you during GCS?
The overnight field trips, like Hopi and
Navajo, Kane Ranch, the River and Service, even the backpacking trip, where we
got to work closely with each other, learn about a particular place on the
Colorado Plateau, and talk to people from the area and our professors about the
issues. It helped me really to see how personal values and experience are tied
to larger issues at hand. You can't care about a place until you've really been
Anonymous GCS 2012 student (excerpted from final student course evaluations)
Grand Canyon National Park-- South & North Rims
As one might anticipate, much
of our field time is devoted to visiting the Canyon! Students spend time camping in Mather Campground during orientation week and visit the park for lectures, activities, and service projects throughout the semester. Students have conducted research projects at the park, assisted with the Grand Canyon Celebration of Art (auction), explored the Canyon on personal backpacking trips, ridden in a mule train, and watched the sunset over the North and South Rims. We promise that
you’ll get to know Grand Canyon National Park intimately over the course of the semester.
Grand Canyon Trust's Kane and Two Mile Ranch
A highlight for many GCS 2012 students was time spent at the Kane and Two Mile Ranches, which
are owned and managed by the Grand Canyon Trust in order to develop and
implement ecologically sustainable grazing practices that minimize wildlife and
habitat impacts. The 840,000 acre ranches span nearly 5,000 feet of elevation,
so habitats here range from riparian areas and desert grasslands to high
elevation spruce-fir forests. This area
is host to ranchers, endangered California Condors, the Kaibab Band of Paiute,
and it’s adjacent to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. This
spectacular place captivates all who visit it.
Madeline McKain photo website
Hopi Lands, Black Mesa, and the Kayenta Coalmine
From seeing Ancient Puebloan ruins and providing volunteer support at the Water is Life
run to visiting a sheep ranch and learning about the socioecological complexities of mineral extraction and energy production on tribal lands, students partake in unequaled educational experiences while exploring the spectacular landscapes of the Navajo and Hopi Nations.
Museum of Northern Arizona Easton Collection Center
Students receive an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the state-of-the-art museum collections facility at the Museum of Northern Arizona. The Easton
Collection Center, dedicated in 2009, incorporates traditional architecture concepts
from Colorado Plateau tribes with LEED certified green building techniques to
create a unique and innovative twist on collection facility design. MNA
Director, Dr. Robert Breunig, provides insight on the intricacies of designing
and constructing a building that addresses needs and concerns of tribal people
and rises to the challenge of conserving textiles, pottery, and other valuable
artifacts. Students also participate in
a guided tour of the collections themselves and catch glimpses of ancient
treasures from dinosaur bones to Hopi squash blossom necklaces to dozens of
species of native dragonflies.