Yampa Valley Science School

Yampa Valley Science School (YVSS) serves all of the Routt County 6th grade students (250 in 2016) each year in a residential, experiential Science Camp. Operated in cooperation with local schools since 2000, YVSS incorporates a 5 day, 3 night science curriculum integrated with 6th grade academic standards, teambuilding activities and personal growth experiences for the students. The science curriculum is broken down into 3 blocks: Hydrosphere, Biosphere, Atmosphere/Geosphere. Fieldtrips are also taken in the local community. Students also enjoy night activities including an Astronomy evening as well as traditional campfire songs and skits.


The camp is operated in the month of September at the historic Perry Mansfield Performing Arts Camp in Strawberry Park. The goals of YVSS include: to provide place-based environmental education through experiential and interactive lesson activities; to link the communities within the Yampa Valley; to provide intergenerational links and mentoring opportunities for sixth graders, high school students, college students, and community adults; and to foster integrated academic education with the public school systems.


In Hydrosphere students follow the cycle of water on this all day field trip from the top of Fish Creek, down to the confluence of Fish Creek and the Yampa River, to the Wastewater Treatment Plant, and exploring aquatic micro-organisms.


In Geosphere students follow the cycle of rocks on this half day unit, starting with a field trip up Buffalo Pass to examine a man-made road cut and a rock deposition site, including boulders and minerals. Students get a first-hand account of weathering, deposition, and erosion while witnessing mineral striation bands and fracture lines. The students return to the campus to become excavators and archeologists, as they dig prepared soil pits and find all kinds of educational treasures. Students further study their findings through the exploration of boxes of fun-filled treasures:


In Atmosphere students become meteorologists as they explore cloud formation and identification, alternative energy and the energy diet, and weather vs climate. Students start by becoming clouds themselves to demonstrate the role clouds play in atmospheric conditions. Next, students will compose their individual daily “energy diet” to determine how they can use less energy and create a lesser impact on the health of our atmosphere. Students will also explore the various methods of energy production and the impacts of each on the health of our planet. Finally, students measure the various weather conditions including barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, rainfall, humidity, and temperature to reveal how these factors are interrelated and are a huge factor in determining local weather patterns.

In Biosphere students are lead through the cycle of energy, from plants to animals to earth and back. Students explore how ecosystems are made up of interdependent components that each have specific purposes: producers, consumers, and decomposers. Students take a field trip to Elk Stone Farms where they dissect a flower and identify its parts as well as become pollinators and see how much energy it takes to pollinate a flower. Students also learn what it takes to grow fruit and vegetables in Northwest Colorado in a greenhouse and outside in the ever changing weather.

Questions, please contact Ryan Banks, ryan@rockymountainyouthcorps.com

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps: (970) 879-2135 ext.101


Physical & Mailing Address:

991 Captain Jack Drive,

Steamboat Springs, CO 80487

(970) 879-2135  


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