Desert & Canyonlands a Classroom for the Outdoor Education Program

Photo of Outdoor Education Students backpacking in the southwest.From Northwest Colorado to Utah, we live in close proximity to desert and canyon country.  This land of strange geographical shapes and little water provides a unique environment to learn about geology, plant and animal adaptations, and strategies for travel in these challenging places.

Desert Orientation (OUT112)
This course takes you into the dry country where plants and animals have learned unique ways of dealing with low moisture and high amounts of sun.  We focus on skills associated with traveling and camping in this type of terrain.  We explore the desert’s natural history, previous inhabitants, and Leave No Trace principles.

Canyon Orientation (OUT113)
We have two sections of canyon orientation. One focuses on backpacking and the other focuses on canoeing in canyon country.  Both courses focus on skills appropriate to canyon travel, natural history, group dynamics, geology, and Leave No Trace ethics.

desert flowerNatural History of the Desert (BIO144)
In this course we spend four days in desert country and examine the natural history on this unique environment, including organisms’ adaptations to dry, challenging environments.  We also learn why and how deserts are formed and what deserts you may encounter in the US.

Southwest Archaeology (ANT280)
This course explores the clues left behind by the Anasazi, who inhabited the Four Corners area of the Colorado Plateau.  Students will make a base camp and will take day hikes into a variety of canyons, exploring ruins and other signs of previous occupation.