by Carol Dunn
NEW MEXICO- La Veta’s fourth- and fifth-grade classes were rewarded last week for a year of fund raising efforts by taking a 3-day field trip to Carlsbad Caverns. Carlsbad, located in southern New Mexico, was already experiencing hot summer weather. But the heat didn’t bother the group while they were underground in the caverns, where temperatures are a constant 56 degrees. This age group still has a fascinated curiosity about the natural world and an appreciation for the beauty all around us. Warned by park personnel to not touch the formations in the caverns, nevertheless, that took a lot of willpower. Everywhere were the whispers of amazement, “Cool!” “Oooh, look at this one.” “Dude!” Fifth-grade teacher Mrs. Marie Ortivez commented, “This group has been very well behaved.” That’s quite an accomplishment, considering the bus ride was about eight hours each way.
After the group’s pizza-dinner cruise of the Pecos River, they were on-hand to witness the bat flight from the caverns. For about an hour, waves of bats, using the caverns as a “motel” on their migration north, swirled around the entrance then took off for parts unknown to dine on delectable insects.
The school group was also fortunate to witness an Apache celebration at the Living Desert State Park, including a re-enactment of a war dance. The students were thrilled to be invited to join the dancers in the Friendship Dance. Last, but certainly not least, there was a pool at the hotel. Thirty-eight kids splashing, squealing and laughing.
The students will carry these memories with them into adulthood. Our children are undoubtedly Huerfano County’s greatest treasure.