Sixth-graders from Bookcliff Middle School in Grand Junction will be the lucky guinea pigs during a week-long pilot program in environmental education launching today at a camp in the Grand Mesa National Forest.

Students will learn about stream ecology, renewable and non-renewable energy sources, Native American culture, astronomy, wildlife, orienteering and outdoor recreation using a curriculum called Outdoor Wilderness Lab or OWL. They will also be able to earn certifications in first aid, CPR and hunter education.

Mesa County Valley School District 51 is working with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to provide the camp. Colorado Parks and Wildlife will pay for the program and evaluate its impact afterwards by comparing the knowledge and attitudes of students who participated to those who didn’t.