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ACES Ed encompasses the extensive science and environmental learning programs offered by Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, creating a passion for learning and preparing regional students to excel in science at an early age. Since 1975, ACES Ed has partnered with local schools to provide a broad spectrum of science education in the classroom and in the field through hands-on exploration. Regarded as "a science classroom without boundaries," ACES Ed curriculum is highly integrated with that of the schools to provide support for under-funded programs stressed to meet increasing district and state academic standards. ACES Ed fosters generations of ecologically literate citizens, building critical thinking skills, engaging in problem solving and opening doors to a brighter future for students of all ages.

ACES Ed applies a diverse approach to science education, incorporating earth, physical and life sciences as well as elements of environmental ed, outdoor ed, experiential ed, STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) ed, standards-based ed, placed-based ed and project-based learning. ACES Ed programs also integrate components from ACES' other areas of focus, including sustainable agriculture and forest health curriculum.

In 2012, ACES increased its environmental science programming at BES by modeling the program after the highly-successful Aspen Elementary School program. Now, all 670 Kindergarten through 4th grade BES students attend a weekly lesson in the ACES' Environmental Science classroom as a part of their rotation of classes called Specials. In addition to the in-school lessons, each class goes on two to three field science programs at ACES' sites.

BES Principal, Suzanne Wheeler-Del Piccolo has this to say about the program,
"I am thrilled that the students of Basalt Elementary have Environmental Science class as a regular part of their school week. The hands-on science learning that ACES provides helps students to understand complex concepts, build vocabulary, and increase environmental literacy in the early years of learning. Plus, ACES makes science fun, and in turn, students have increased enthusiasm for learning."

Primary themes of study by grade level:

Grade Level In-School Themes Outdoor Field Science Trips
Kindergarten Animal Movement, Local Animals Mammals, Insects, and Birds, Sun, Garden Animals, Sun and the Garden
First Grade Soil, Fall Garden, Trees, Snow Study, What Animals Need to Survive, Animal Babies, Plant Germination Earth’s Materials, States of Water at Hallam Lake, Animal Babies
Second Grade Animal Adaptations, Habitat, Reptiles, Amphibians, Birds, Plants Animal Homes, Winter Animal Adaptations on Aspen Mountain, Riparian habitat and Birds, Campfire
Third Grade Ecosystems, Life Cycles, Geology, Winter Tracking, Water Cycle Ecosystems, Wetlands at Hallam Lake
Fourth Grade Life Zones, Non-Living and Living parts of Ecosystem, Ancient Life Zones, Astronomy, Energy Planetarium, Life zones

ACES believes that the best classroom is in the outdoors. Our field Science programs are engaging explorations of the environment. Each year, ACES educators lead over 350 field science programs for over 40 regional schools and youth groups. Most of the programs take place at ACES' sites, Rock Bottom Ranch in Basalt and Hallam Lake in Aspen. However, ACES educators also provide programs at the Maroon Bells, Toklat, Aspen Mountain, near local schools, the Roaring Fork River, and more. Each field program is custom designed to meet the needs of you and your students. The following descriptions are some field program options.

The ACES at BES program is funded by Basalt Education Foundation, Whole Foods Market, Basalt Partners in Education, donors to ACES' Children's Education Fund, and Basalt Elementary School.

To learn more about ACES Ed, click here Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.

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