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The first field experience the Geosphere students participated in this year was a trip to Skyline Drive! While the weather was a little rainy, it didn't stop the students from having a great time! As they waited for our scheduled tour guide, they met up with a park ranger who was an expert in black bears! Not only did he have a collection of fascinating bear artifacts (from real bear fur to not-so-real bear "scat"), but he also informed them of a lot of cool yet unknown facts about bears! "My favorite part was learning about the black bears that lived on the mountain," Ariana W. remembers.

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After learning about black bears, the Geosphere students were treated to a guided tour of the recycling program at Skyline Drive. "This trip related to the cost of comfort because the people at skyline had to not use a lot of money and still keep the park clean; they had to reduce the amount of trash cans around the park, but the park had to stay clean," Jenna S. stated.They learned about the special "highly bear resistant" recycling bins that are placed around the park; the special latch that one uses the open the bin prevents bears, raccoons, and other critters from foraging into the recycling. Students also learned about where the recycling goes after it's taken from the trash as well as how the park has overcome hardships to the program. Katherine S. keenly learned about how the the park solved one of their larger problems. "I learned that originally, Shenandoah National Park had to pay the recycling center $60 for a deposit of one ton of glass, but because the park bought a glass grinder, the center could use the shards of glass as gravel, so the park only had to pay $20 for a ton of glass," she says.


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While the Geosphere students were planning to go hiking after the recycling tour, the rainy weather interfered with the plans. However, the flexible students of the Geosphere were still able to still have fun indoors! The sphere visited one of the welcome centers at Skyline Drive, where they watched a brief video about the wildlife found in the Shenandoah Valley. After the video, students spent time in the mini-museum, where they got a hands-on look at some of the best features of Skyline Drive, including a look at some of the best views. The fun Geosphere students had today proved that spontaneity really can be exciting! 1.jpg