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June 19, 2013 – Traveling to Old Faithful

June 20, 2013

On our journey from Yellowstone Lake south to Old Faithful, we stopped to hike the Pelican Creek Nature trail. We hiked to the lake and took some time to sit along the beach, observe our surroundings, and reflect on what we have seen and learned thus far. While taking in our beautiful surroundings, Melissa shared nature journaling activities with us. After finding a quiet spot, we each wrote poems, drew pictures, made watercolor paintings, or took photographs. We would like to give you a glimpse of a reflective activity that we have done on the trip. You can do the following activity anywhere outdoors, even in your own backyard.

Observing Nature

1) Choose a special site where you can sit outdoors comfortably and think. You should bring some paper and pencils or art supplies outside with you.
2) Find your best view of your special site and sketch it, or draw/paint it if you choose.
3) Look around you. What do you see that is beautiful?
4) Close your eyes and listen. Write down the sounds you hear.
5) Take a deep breath. Can you smell the trees? The water? Write down words to describe what you smell.
6) How do your surroundings make you feel? Take a moment to immerse yourself in your surroundings.

After observing your special site, write a poem, draw a picture or maybe even make a painting that reflects your observations.

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Our afternoon involved the smells of Yellowstone combined with a rainbow of colors. Today’s stop at West Thumb involved less noxious fumes than yesterday’s stop at the mud volcano, which was very sulfuric. West Thumb Geyser basin contained small, steaming pools of crystal clear blue waters with temperatures above 150 degrees. The darker, green-tinted springs had temperatures of around 125 degrees. The color difference is attributed to different types of microorganisms that can live at specific high temperatures. Organisms that can live in extreme habitats (high temperatures or high acidity) are called extremophiles.

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The highest of our evening was seeing the eruption of Old Faithful with thousands of other onlooking tourists. We are looking forward to touring the geyser basin with a park ranger early tomorrow morning before the crowds emerge.

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Throughout our journey through the park, we have observed plants and animals that are highly adapted to the climate and geology of Yellowstone. The uniqueness of this amazing place continues to inspire us to educate our students to protect and preserve nature for future generations.

Inspire. Educate. Preserve.
—Yellowstone Association

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