The Brush Creek Ranch Science Enrichment Program offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience for students attending Big Shoulders Fund schools. The program has grown from 32 students during the 2010-2011 school year to 214 students during the 2015-2016 school year.
Starting in January 2017, selected students attend STEM-focused enrichment sessions at Chicago-area institutions like the Adler Planetarium, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and the North Park Village Nature Center. Students also complete ongoing assignments and keep a journal documenting their thoughts experiences.
The program culminates with a six-day trip to Staddle Camp at Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming. Once at camp, students learn by doing: looking for animal tracks while hiking, discerning the difference between predator and prey by dissecting owl pellets, taking and testing water samples from the local rivers, and learning about constellations while stargazing. Students are pushed out of their comfort zones, challenged by activities including horseback riding, ropes courses, and zip-lining, while their teachers and camp staff cheer them on.
All expenses are covered by Big Shoulders Fund with a portion of students’ airfare is underwritten by United, the official airline sponsor of the program.