Twelve bright-eyed high school sophomores from Carson High School in South Central Los Angeles woke up on a November Monday morning in cabins on the Kelly campus of Teton Science Schools. By 8:30am they had eaten breakfast, donned layers of clothing, scarves, hats and mittens, (morning temperature was +5F), loaded their daypacks with snacks, water and journals, and set out for Lobo Hill. Their leaders were two well-trained, grounded, serious TSS Graduate Program teachers. Fresh snow and a handy laminated field guide revealed tracks from a fox, a variety of mice, and a mule deer. A pause for journal sketching on the west flank of the hill gave the students the huge panorama of the central sagebrush flats of Jackson Hole, the gray cottonwood tree-lined Ditch Creek meandering to the north end of Blacktail Butte, and a 4,000 to 6,000 foot serrated vertical interruption in the landscape, capped by shifting, frigid, wind-whipped hat clouds on the highest peaks.

By the time I departed to get back to the more typical work of donor meetings, email and composing philanthropic appeals, only three hours had passed. But twelve lives were in metamorphosis. The impact was already obvious, and the Carson High kids had six more days to go. That’s why we ask for money for Teton Science Schools. Thank you for being a part of what Jackson Hole has to give to our nation – a National Park, a Teton Science School education, a vibrant connection to friends, and a broadened world, where suddenly the seemingly harsh conditions of Carson California cannot contain the earned self-confidence and the new dreams of a dozen bright young people.