First grader field trip is ‘staycation’ information day

JHCA first grade class looks over the stocked fishing pond at the Jackson National Fishing Hatchery on the Elk Refuge.


JACKSON HOLE, WYO – The first grade class at the Jackson Hole Classical Academy got to spend a day outside the classroom doing what most tourists to Jackson Hole dream of getting accomplished in a week’s stay.

National Fish Hatchery

Class steps carefully on the catwalk of the raceway at National Fish Hatchery.

First, it was off to the Jackson National Fish Hatchery to learn about the Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat trout. In addition to learning a bit of Latin (the subspecies is known by its scientific name: Oncorhynchus clarkii behnkei) Miss Morton’s class also got to see the process of making a stock trout—from spawning to sac fry to adult 7.5-inchers ready for stocking.

The folks at the hatchery were busy trying to coax some 237,000 eggs into baby trout known as sac fry but Mike had time to show the kids around the raceways and indoor tanks for an hour-long tour. He was also very proud of the hatchery’s newly wrapped stock truck.

National Museum of Wildlife Art

The National Museum of Wildlife Art was the next stop for the weekly “Fables, Feathers, and Fur” program. It’s geared for young kids and takes place every Wednesday morning at 10:30am. Stuart Lang, general manager of the Amangani, was the guest reader. He read from Welcome Home, Bear by Il Sung Na, a story of a bear who searched for a better habitat only to find the one he lived in already was the best.

Stuart Lang, GM of Amangani, reads to kids during Fables, Feathers & Fur at NMWA.

The museum’s curator of education, Jane Lavino pointed out a few examples of bear works of art in one of the museum’s galleries. She then had the class get hands-on with a clay molding sculpting session that produced about a dozen bears for the students to take home.

A hands-on sculpting session followed reading and art appreciation time.

Elk Refuge visitor center

The friendly staff at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center put the JHCA first grade class through the paces in order to earn their Jr. Blue Goose Ranger patches. The students walked through a 45-minute tour with an accompanying activity booklet, answering questions like, “What season do the elk migrate into the Refuge?”

After being sworn in with an official ceremony as deputized junior rangers, the kids were mesmerized by Chuck and Betty Mulcahy’s snake show. The class learned all about the different snakes they might encounter here in Jackson Hole and why they didn’t need to be frightened by them. The kids were introduced to Taggart the Gartersnake, Harley the Hognose, and even got to pet Rex the Kingsnake.

With the summer tourist season just beginning, the first grade field trip for the JHCA was a great inside look at just how hard Jackson Hole works to inform and inspire its guests. What a special place this is for visitors…especially for families with kids.