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    Building on the Block: Sense of Place Series

    The Charge: The learning experience should provide opportunities to explore the themes so important to this region — healthy living, sustainability, the value of water, and the spirit of adventure.

    What’s Happening: The Sense of Place trip series that began in the fall semester took students, faculty, and staff on new explorations this spring, with a variety of field trips planned heading into the next academic year. A collaboration between the Office of Field Study and the Office of Sustainability, the series launched at the start of the 2015-16 academic year aiming to build a more connected, conscious, and resilient community.

    Ian Johnson, director of the Office of Sustainability, says “If you’re going to care about a place, if you’re going to get involved with your community, you need to know what that place is, so I think they’re essential life skills that we’re imparting to many of our students, and our employees, too, for that matter.”

    The CC community had plenty of opportunities to connect with our sense of place this academic year. The fall semester wrapped up with a tour of the Martin Drake Power Plant in Colorado Springs. In January 2016, 14 students, faculty, and staff headed out to the high country for the “Not Your Average Ski Trip” to better understand the recreation economies of Colorado.

    Catherine Braza ’18 attended the “Not Your Average Ski Trip” and says it opened her eyes to some of the social and economic impacts, both positive and negative, related to the ski industry. “My favorite moments were when the park ranger for the region came to talk with us, because it was very intriguing to see how the ski industry interweaves with the Bureau of Land Management and the connection between those things,” she says. “The discussion generated this fruitful new analysis of how you can look at the ski industry.”

    Also planned for this semester: a birding trip at Pinello Ranch and a visit to the site of the Ludlow Massacre with Professor of English David Mason. Johnson says he hopes to offer all of this year’s trips again in 2016-17, and also is planning new opportunities based on input from students and other participants.