Deschutes Forest Service guided another successful trip of fourth grade students from Madras Elementary School into the forest Feb. 4. Students were educated on snowshoeing, snow and earth science, the importance of snowpack, and the Cascade Mountain Range and rivers.
In the high desert, most of our water comes from snowmelt. When Mount Bachelor's snow melts, it seeps into the earth, running into Little Lava Lake, which in turns feeds the Deschutes River, and then it goes to the Columbia River on to the Pacific Ocean. Students learned that the process recurs every year.
The students put 5 inches of snow into a beaker and melted it, creating only a half-inch of water, showing the students how much snow it takes to make a small amount of water. The snowpack is important not just for humans, but for all wildlife and the Earth's inhabitants, the students learned. The park ranger challenged the students to go to the Deschutes River their senior year and see that water that melted from the snow they once stood on in snowshoes. The students were very excited about the challenge.
As we stood on the volcano, we felt the power of the earth under our feet. Standing on 7 feet of snow in our shoes felt pretty good. Looking at the mountain range in the distance made me appreciate the water I drink. The Forest Service is continuing to educate and explore with our youths, opening their eyes to a bigger world.
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