Lead by Megan Spaulding, who teaches second and third grades, the students took the strenuous three-mile round trip hike with captivating views to learn about the outdoors and appreciation of nature.

Last Wednesday, seven Castle Rock Elementary students in second to eighth grades hiked to Heart Lake in the Castle Crags.

Outdoor Education is one of 13 electives in the school’s curriculum that offer enrichment opportunities.

“It is a different approach to access academic skills,” said the school’s principal Autumn Funk.

Lead by Megan Spaulding, who teaches second and third grades, the students took the strenuous three-mile round trip hike with captivating views to learn about the outdoors and appreciation of nature. Along the way, they learned about the geography, local ecosystems, purifying water, fire safety, tying knots, fishing, “and the love of nature,” Spaulding said.

The students embark on roughly 10 hikes total through the semester. Other hikes have been to Castle Crags State Park, Hedge Creek Falls, McCloud Falls, and Pluto’s Cave.

“It gives kids a chance to show their best strengths and succeed in a different environment,” said Funk.

While most of the students in the class said they took the elective because they like to hike, second grader Paityn Mellon said, “I like knowing how to purify water if I ever get lost in the woods.”

“I really liked knot tying and water purification. I want to be a forest firefighter so I took this class to learn more about the trails,” said eighth grader Marvin Tucker.

Some of Castle Rock’s other electives include cooking, Spanish, coding, frisbee golf, ceramics, and soccer.