This is the story of one of the best Tuesdays of my life. Tuesdays are often great days, but this Tuesday was an extra-special Tuesday. The Tuesday I am writing of was the day that I, along with an excited group of eighth graders and an instructor, saw a rainbow, the moon, and the sun all against a clear blue sky as we hiked through a forest lovingly called “Narnia” (for its small trees and magical ambiance); created models of the Tetons out of snow while looking directly at the Tetons (and then acting as if we were glaciers shaping and moving the earth); experienced true silence punctuated only by the soft thuds of snow falling from trees and the occasional shrill chatter of red squirrels; and explored many signs of animals in the snow covered forest (uncovering the mystery of what is really happening in the forest and fields of the lateral moraine we traversed). Now you see why this Tuesday was so special. The wonderful part, though, is that this Tuesday was like many other Tuesdays at Teton Science Schools.
Let’s fast forward several days: on the last morning of the program, a girl from our group shared a memory from her week, “Have you ever seen the sun, the moon, and a rainbow all in the sky while you walk through a forest called Narnia?” It was clear from her voice filled with wonder, as well as from the voices of the other students who spoke, that there was a lot of meaning in their thoughts and that they would gladly tell their stories again and again. It is this very sharing, an integral part of the “science circle” that Teton Science Schools teach, that we must not forget. Education is not only about teaching students effectively, it is also about the snowball effect- about the spread of information and experiences that then teach over and over. Sharing is just as important as those initial observations: we must share our sense of wonder and our awareness of what is possible on our planet. It is through both experience and sharing that we might inspire the curiosity that will motivate students to live thoughtfully and responsibly, and that students will carry with them for the rest of their lives.