Bogus Basin program gets kids outside, learning winter ecology

kjones@idahostatesman.comFebruary 16, 2014 

Did you know that 80 percent of Boise’s water comes from the Bogus Basin? Did you know that 6 inches of the powdery snow that fell one day last week melts into less than an inch of water?

Did you know that the temperature inside an igloo is about 10 degrees warmer than the air outside?

That’s OK. You do now. And so do 1,500 or so fifth- and sixth-graders from around the Treasure Valley, after they spend a day at SnowSchool at Bogus Basin.

SnowSchool is a program that dovetails with classroom learning — in a beautiful setting. Tromping around the forest in snowshoes, students do a handful of science experiments, make hypotheses and apply environmental sciences that they’re learning in school.

“They can see where their water comes from, they can do experiments with the snowpack, see the different (snow) layers,” says teacher Jamie Kubena, from Amity School.

“(They can) look at Boise’s watershed and see where everything up here heads when it melts in the summertime.

“It’s certainly part of the curriculum, but more importantly, it’s part of their life. … What makes Boise run is the snow up here; it’s good for them to come up and see. A lot of them had never been here before and don’t realize where that water from the tap comes from.”

This is a lot of fun, too, mixed up with hands-on, experiential learning. If you dig a pit in the snow, is it colder at top or the bottom — and what difference does it make? Have you ever felt the different layers of snow? And do you know what a snowflake looks like up close and personal? Ask a fifth-grader.

“And you know what else is awesome about snowshoeing and SnowSchool?” asks Mary Davis, a Boise State University intern and group leader. “It’s a way you can get outside and be active in winter.”

Katherine Jones: 377-6414

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