All the way from Maine!

All the way from Maine!

The weekend brought a gaggle of Fryeburgers.  Or was it a pod?  A pack?  A herd?  A flock?  Perhaps a flutter of Fryeburgers.  Eleven students and two teachers joined Sky School all the way from Fryeburg, ME.  They proved their mettle by withstanding, and dare I say even enjoying at times, a hike in Sabino Canyon on one of the hottest days so far this summer!  Even though the hike was intense, we were greatly rewarded by the beautiful and fascinating biodiversity of the Sonoran Desert.

Giant Mesquite Bug nymph
A Giant Mesquite Bug nymph

Water hole

We found water! And fish, and insects, and macro invertebrates, and even a garter snake in the water.

The trip was packed with much learning and adventure–early morning hummingbird census at the summit capturing amazingly beautiful and colorful birds, Marshall Gulch hydrology and macroinvertebrate study, the most competitive predator-prey game ever, a few quiet moments listening to the birds, solar observing, watching the International Space Station pass by overhead, brilliant sunsets, the Catalina Sky Survey, and night sky wonders through the telescope.  Fryeburgers, you are awesome!

Hummingbird monitoring
No shortage of documenting the spectacular hummingbirds
ISS passing
Passover of the ISS
Fryeburg group
The group with their “war paint”

In the students’ own words:

“This has been a really unforgettable experience overall, but my favorite part was watching the sunset every night and looking through the telescope at planets and galaxies.  The thing that shocked me the most were the differences and similarities in climate to Maine.  I forgot I was in Arizona, but down in the canyon the difference was very noticeable, especially with the difference in vegetation.”

“I had such a fantastic time during my three days at the Sky School, and learned so much!  A perfect combination of ecology and astronomy made the trip memorable for life.”

“My time at the Sky School was unlike anything I had ever experienced.  It was unreal to see our environment change from the bottom to the top.  The views took my breath away and when climbing the rocky parts, I felt invincible.”

“One of the best things that has ever happened, such a unique experience to go through with all my friends.  The best part was staying up to watch the sunset, then waiting to look at stars and all the cool things through the telescope.”

“My favorite part of this trip was being able to see the rings of Saturn and the moon.  I also enjoyed the sunsets and playing predator and prey.  The experience here was unlike anything before and it makes me appreciate everything at home.  I’m going to miss it here and being able to see everything unique to this area.”

“I had the most amazing experience on Mt. Lemmon.  The views everywhere on top of and going up and down the mountain were the most beautiful thing I’ve seen.  Thank you to the crew of the Sky School for doing everything they did for us.  The food was amazing!  Thank you for showing us stars and different planets.  It was so cool and I’m so glad I got to experience this!”

The sunsets were the best of all.
The sunsets were the best of all.