Outdoor Adventures Become Mount Ellis Classrooms

June 23, 2017 | Michael Lee

Mount Ellis Academy is a place where education and the great outdoors meet. I like to call the outdoors our seventh classroom. When you live in a place like Bozeman, Mont., you can’t help but get out into the wilds of nature.

Ellen White, in her book Education, says, “Upon all created things is seen the impress of the Deity. Nature testifies of God. The susceptible mind, brought in contact with the miracle and mystery of the universe, cannot but recognize the working of infinite power. … To him who learns thus to interpret its teachings, all nature becomes illuminated; the world is a lesson book, life a school. … So far as possible, let the child from his earliest years be placed where this wonderful lesson book shall be open before him" (pp. 99–101).

We strive to do that. This year our great adventure took us through Yellowstone National Park to Grand Teton National Park for the first week of school. Students and staff spent the week connecting and reconnecting with each other and discovering their Creator in a setting free from distraction.

An English module had them taking inspiration from nature and using it in a creative writing process. During the math module they learned about the real-life challenges of how states manage their wolf, elk and grizzly bear populations. Science took them to the streams and lakes to discover trout habitat and to the forest to understand the destructive and replenishing characteristics of fire.

Those who were the sturdiest braved a 20-mile hike over Paintbrush Divide, down to Holly Lake and out past Grand Teton through Cascade Canyon. Nothing can prepare you for the grandeur of God’s creation on a hike like that. It was truly a spiritual experience.

The time spent was more than just outdoor education. It was time building relationships, time telling stories time making memories and, most importantly, time worshipping our Creator. If you know a student who would like to be a part of next year’s adventure in Glacier National Park, visit our website at www.mtellis.org or call 406-587-5178.