• Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

    Black Canyon Of The Gunnison

    National Park Colorado

Ranger-led Field Trips & Classroom-based Programs, 2014-2015

Welcome to the 2014-2015 Program Season
The National Park Service invites you and your students to participate in our Education programs. Our curriculum-based programs are guided by Colorado P-12 Academic Standards, Common Core, and Next Generation Science Standards. Our programs will supplement and reinforce what you are already doing in the classroom with local examples from Curecanti National Recreation Area and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. All programs continue to be offered at no cost to schools. We offer both classroom-based programs and in-park field trips. Program type is indicated after the program title. To schedule, please contact:

Ellen Petrick, Education Specialist
Curecanti National Recreation Area
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
102 Elk Creek
Gunnison, CO 81230
(970) 641-2337 Ext. 203
ellen_petrick@nps.gov



Pre-School - Kindergarten

Fur and Feathers (Classroom) - Fall Only - Students learn how birds and mammals get ready for winter through experimentation and role playing (30 minutes).

Cougar Tales (Classroom) - Spring Only - Students learn about mountain lion adaptations through an investigation of their life cycle and learn how to stay safe in lion country (30 minutes).

Beaver Creek - Stream Sense (Field Trip) - Students use their senses to explore the riparian environment. The importance of water to humans and wildlife is emphasized (2 hours).

South Rim - Black Canyon Exploration (Field Trip) - Students are introduced to this spectacular rock and water wilderness through sensory activities, simulations, and observations (2 hours).



Grades 1 - 2

Animal Autographs (Classroom) - Students become wildlife detectives using animal tracks and other signs to determine the presence of wildlife. Use of geometric shapes helps students identify and classify common animal tracks found in nature (60 minutes).

Sensational Wildlife (Classroom) - Activities focusing on the senses demonstrate how different Colorado animals are adapted to their environment. Students are encouraged to get outdoors and use their senses to investigate the world around them (60 minutes).

Fascinating Fossils (Classroom) - Students explore the processes by which evidence of past life is preserved through fossilization, and how that evidence can help tell a story about Colorado's past landscapes and predict those of the future (60 minutes).

Water We Share (Classroom) - Grade 2 Only - Interactive demonstrations and activities illustrate the water cycle, watershed journeys, and the many uses of this precious resource, with an emphasis on human responsibility. (60 minutes).

Pine Creek - Wild Canyon Exploration (Field Trip) - Fall Only - The riparian environment is explored from the perspective of habitat. Students discover plant diversity, go on a scavenger hunt to search for components of a healthy habitat, and experience first-hand the wonder of a wild canyon (2-4 hours).

South Rim - Black Canyon Habitats (Field Trip) - Students learn about the river that connects us to other places and other lives, go on a scavenger hunt to search for components of a healthy habitat, and experience first-hand the wonder of a wild canyon (2-4 hours).



Grades 3 - 6

Water We Share (Classroom) - Grades 3 & 4 Only - Interactive demonstrations and activities illustrate the water cycle, watershed journeys, and the many uses of this precious resource, with an emphasis on human responsibility. (60 minutes).

Energy and our World (Classroom) - Students discover the many sources of energy we use every day. Renewable and nonrenewable resources are defined, environmental impacts are analyzed, and conservation actions are encouraged. A challenging game of "Energy Jeopardy" summarizes the program (60 minutes).

Colorado Habitats: From River's Edge to Mountain Peaks (Classroom) - Students learn about Colorado habitats and the diversity of species they support. Animal adaptations and the consequences of habitat change, both gradual and rapid are explored (60 minutes).

Colorado Geology (Classroom) - Students explore the geologic events that formed the landscapes of Curecanti and Black Canyon, and the forces that continue to sculpt the magnificent canyons, mesas, and buttes. Students review rock forming processes and erosion, observe Colorado rockl samples, and learn to read the stories behind the scenery (60 minutes).

Globes, Maps, and GPS (Classroom) - Grades 4, 5 & 6 Only - The major features of our world will be investigated on globes and maps. Planimetric, topographic, landsat, and GPS/GIS maps will be examined. Students will create their own topographic maps, and will use GPS units to hunt for hidden caches on the school grounds (90 minutes).

South Rim or North Rim - Geology of the Black Canyon (Field Trip) - Students explore the geologic events that formed the canyon and the forces of nature that continue to sculpt the magnificent Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and influence life along its sheer walls (2-4 hours).

South Rim - Black Canyon Snowshoe Exploration (Field Trip) - Students learn how plants and animals survive a rocky mountain winter while snowshoeing the canyon rim. This class is offered Wednesdays and Fridays, from mid- January through early March, and is offered to one or two classes at a time (3-4 hours).

Dillon Pinnacles - Geology of Curecanti (Field Trip) - Students explore the geologic events that formed the landscapes of Curecanti, and the forces that continue to sculpt its canyons, mesas and buttes. Students discover how evidence of Paleo-environments can both reveal the past and help predict the future (3-4 hours).

Pine Creek (spring only), Cimarron or East Portal - Hands on the Land (Field Trip) - Curecanti and Black Canyon hold stories from 10,000 years of human presence, showing a succession of changing cultures, values, and technologies. From early exploration, to railroads, to the Gunnison tunnel, to reservoirs, the parks are an example of the struggle inherent in balancing the needs of human populations while maintaining diverse habitats and Wilderness ideals. Students explore the human history of this area while making their own personal connections to place (3-4 hours).



Grades 7 - 8

Colorado Geology/Geography (Classroom) - Students explore the geologic events that formed the landscapes of Curecanti and the Black Canyon, and the forces that continue to sculpt the magnificent canyons, mesas and buttes (erosion, mountain building, and volcanic activity).Students learn how the landscape has both shaped and been shaped by humans (60 minutes).

South Rim or North Rim - Geology of the Black Canyon (Field Trip) - Students explore the geologic events that formed the canyon and the forces of nature that continue to sculpt the magnificent Black Canyon of the Gunnison and influence life along its sheer walls (3-4 hours).

South Rim - Black Canyon Snowshoe Exploration (Field Trip) - Students learn how plants and animals survive a rocky mountain winter while snowshoeing the canyon rim. This class is offered from mid- January through early March and is offered to one to two classes at a time (3-4 hours).

Curecanti Creek - Ecosystem Dynamics (Field Trip) - Fall Only - This hike into a wild canyon ecosystem will focus on the flow of energy and matter, population dynamics, change over time and human influence. Students will learn how all things are interconnected, and explore their own roles and responsibilities for a sustainable future (4-5 hours).



Program Dates & Times
Scheduling is now open for all fall, winter, and spring programs. Fall and spring programs are available Tuesday through Friday, excluding federal holidays during the following dates: The fall program will run from September 4 through November 14. The spring program will run from March 10 through May 15. Black Canyon Snowshoe Exploration will be offered on Wednesdays and Fridays on the South Rim from late January through early March, depending on snow conditions. Field trips may begin any time after 9:30 AM. They should conclude in time for a safe return to your school (no later than 2:30 PM). School site programs may begin any time after 9:00 AM for Gunnison schools, and 10:00 AM for all other schools. Our schedule is determined on a first-come, first-served basis, and typically fills by mid-October.

If you bring your class to the Black Canyon (South Rim, North Rim, East Portal) in fall or spring, you will need to apply for an entrance fee waiver. A two week lead time is required for processing fee waiver applications. Applications can be accessed through the park web site:




New distance learning opportunity now available!
A new program for elementary students (grades 3-5) offers on-line video content, classroom lessons that guide and build upon video content, and real-time video conferencing with a park ranger. The program uses the Gunnison/Colorado River system to teach about the water cycle, the relationship between watershed actions and water quality, and the need for water conservation.

Coming soon: a new middle school program focusing on renewable and non-renewable resources, the pros and cons associated with energy options, how generators work, and the need for energy conservation -- highlighting the Gunnison River Valley, Blue Mesa Reservoir, and the three dams of Curecanti. A high school program will explore regional identity and tourism in the Gunnison and Uncompahgre valleys as they relate to water and snow sports, and the threats to these iconic Rocky Mountain experiences posed by water quality degradation, drought, and climate change. To schedule, please call (970) 641-2337 X 203.

Did You Know?

Peregrine falcon

Black Canyon is home to the fastest bird in the world, the Peregrine falcon. Scientists estimate that Peregrines can reach speeds of over 200 mph in an aerial dive.