Since 1930, Fountain Valley School (FVS) has utilized its sprawling campus as a “living laboratory." Through a partnership between the School’s faculty and in-house land management and grounds crews, FVS’s new freshman curriculum aims to foster one-of-a-kind learning experiences for ninth-grade students at home on its 1,100-acre Prairie.
Included among the School’s transformative new curriculum, The West, is a combination of traditional biology and ecology, a rarity for this specific age group. This past fall, freshmen science students were tasked with exploring abundant plant life situated along the approximately 12 miles of hiking and biking trails that paint the FVS Prairie, studying both field ecology principles and traditional biological concepts like cellular structure and photosynthesis. As part of the pioneering academic curriculum, ninth-graders are also diving deep into the literature, history, and art that define the American West.
An innovative mix of sustainable living and academic enrichment, the new curriculum – inspired by Fountain Valley School’s inaugural Headmaster Francis Froelicher – was introduced by the School’s ninth and current Head of School Megan Harlan to build upon FVS’s rich history, unique setting, and place in society. “I envisioned a curriculum that would enable students to physically exit the classroom and immerse themselves in the nature around them,” said Harlan, now in her second year as head at the independent boarding and day school. “It’s vital that students obtain the advanced skills required to expertly address future needs and better understand their role in practicing environmental stewardship.”
Throughout students’ four years of high school at Fountain Valley, science faculty continually emphasize place-based, experiential learning to build valuable research skills and encourage scientific discourse. As students advance from grade level to grade level, they participate in increasingly complex quadrat studies to examine species richness and evenness, study the impact of urban development and storm drain runoff on the natural world, and more.
“Our Advanced science students utilize the nearby pond for water quality assessments, take macroinvertebrate samplings, and deeply explore the diverse flora and fauna inherent in the land,” explains Science Department Chair Danielle Llewelyn. “We’ve also conducted rudimentary tree measuring to determine how much carbon our trees on campus can capture, how much water they hold or prevent from evaporating, and how shade prevents the ground temperature from rising.”
Before purchasing the land in 1929, Fountain Valley School’s campus served as a large ranch with polo fields, stables, and small residences for ranch hands. Today, the School continues the practice of ranching and land management, with 150 acres dedicated to irrigation, 100 for hay production, and 50 for livestock grazing. For Land Manager Tyson Phillips, day-to-day responsibilities include a comprehensive schedule consisting of guest lecturing and ranching, with FVS’s flourishing English and Western riding programs playing a large part in the latter.
“For every 100 pounds of live animal body weight, approximately three pounds of dry hay is needed per day,” explains Phillips. “Through the use of rotational grazing, we generate ample forage to support half of our herd of approximately 70 riding horses, and fulfill the needs of the other half with our on-site hay production,” he says.
FVS students routinely choose Phillips as a community mentor for their senior Capstone projects focused on ranching and sustainability. The freshman Class of 2027 has followed suit, participating in ranching, welding, fencework, pasture and land management lessons, and water use discussions alongside Phillips throughout the current academic year. And, on Friday, February 23, Phillips will present to introductory horticulture students the process of converting food and horse manure into compost for field regeneration. The first of many collaborations among junior and senior horticulture students and FVS staff, the class has already begun collaborating with the School’s grounds team to rejuvenate an existing community garden with plot expansions, composting, and upgraded irrigation systems while learning various farming methods and cultivation techniques.
Integrating the School’s sustainability practices with students’ education creates a unique and engaging learning environment that will serve FVS graduates well in managing the issues that are part of their future.
Founded in 1930, Fountain Valley School of Colorado is a boarding and day school for grades 9-12. Situated on 1,100 acres of rolling prairie in Colorado Springs, the School provides a rigorous, global curriculum in academics, arts, athletics, and the outdoors to develop young adults who are courageous, open-minded, self-reliant, curious, and compassionate. Enrollment is approximately 240 students from 23 countries, 21 states and the Pikes Peak Region. www.fvs.edu
February 20, 2024
Peak Vista Welcomes John Eastman to its Board of Directors
Colorado Springs, Colo. – Peak Vista Community Health Centers (Peak Vista) announces the election of John Eastman to its Board of Directors.
Calling Colorado Springs home since 2022, John and his wife, Annette, moved from Jackson, Wyoming where they spent 30 years raising their two daughters, Kathleen and Molly. John recently retired from a career in healthcare IT, working as general counsel for several venture backed start-up companies around the U.S. and Canada. Annette recently retired herself after serving 43 years as a nurse, including her oncology nursing position at Sloan Kettering in New York.
“There is no more important work than delivering healthcare to our residents, especially those with limited access,” says John. “A community focused on improving health will improve lives. Peak Vista ensures there are caring medical professionals working every day to deliver quality health services to those who need it most.”
John received a JD / MBA from Southern Methodist University and has practiced law in Texas and Wyoming since 1982. He is currently on the Board of the Empty Stocking Fund and the Colorado Springs Airport Advisory Commission Board.
John and Annette both enjoy the mountains and living the Colorado lifestyle. Their daughters are currently living and working in Spain and Ireland.
Peak Vista’s Board of Directors also includes Ray Nunn, Board Chairperson; Dr. Dennis Smialek, Vice Chair; Bill Sanden, Treasurer; Marianne Horvath, Secretary; Stella Hodgkins, Member-At-Large; Dr. Robin Johnson, Immediate Past Chair; Santiago "Bob" Duran; David Fairley; Lelia Gibson-Green; Rocio Rodriguez; Mary Lynn Sheetz; Rev. Clifton Turner; and Fadi Youkhana.
About Peak Vista Community Health Centers
Peak Vista Community Health Centers is a nonprofit organization providing exceptional health care to people facing access barriers through clinical programs and education. Celebrating over 50 years of community health service, Peak Vista offers primary medical, integrated behavioral health and dental care services. We proudly serve over 81,000 patients annually through 22 outpatient centers across Colorado’s Pikes Peak and East Central regions. To learn more about Peak Vista, visit www.peakvista.org.
Colorado Springs, CO - February 20, 2024 - District Attorney Michael Allen will be hosting a crucial town hall meeting today, February 20, 2024, at 6:00 pm at Sabin Middle School, located in The Colorado Springs School District 11. The town hall will address the alarming rise of fentanyl-related incidents in Colorado, aiming to raise awareness and foster community dialogue on this pressing issue.
A poignant highlight of the event will be guest speaker Matt Reviere, a parent who tragically lost his child to a fentanyl overdose. Mr. Reviere will bravely share his heart-wrenching story, shedding light on the devastating impact of fentanyl on families and communities.
The town hall will provide attendees with valuable insights into the dangers of fentanyl, signs of overdose, and resources available for prevention and support. Community members, leaders, and concerned individuals are encouraged to participate in this pivotal event.
Let us unite as a community to confront the fentanyl crisis and work towards a safer, healthier future for all.
Date: February 20, 2024
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Sabin Middle School, Colorado Springs School District 11
Address:3605 Carefree Cir N, Colorado Springs, CO 80917
WHAT: Youth in El Paso County enter foster care every day with little more than the clothes on their backs. To help ease that transition, volunteers are gathering to pack “Comfort Cases” – new backpacks filled with comfort and personal care items for youth in foster care. These backpacks will be distributed to El Paso County caseworkers and child placement agencies.
Colorado Community Health Alliance (CCHA), the regional organization that coordinates health care and non-health care services for Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) members, is sponsoring the event in collaboration with Comfort Cases and YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region.
WHEN: Wednesday, February 21, 2024
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Brief remarks will begin at 11am followed by volunteers packing.)
WHERE: Southeast & Armed Services YMCA, 2190 Jet Wing Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80916
WHO: The following spokespeople will provide brief remarks and are available for interviews.
Rob Scheer: Founder, Comfort Cases, a national organization
Amy Yutzy: Executive Director, CCHA
Daren Girling, VP Operations, PPYMCA
The following elected officials will be in attendance. Carrie Geitner, Commissioner, El Paso County; Michelle Talarico, Colorado Springs City Councilmember; Bret Waters, El Paso County Administrator; and Holly Williams, Commissioner, El Paso County
WHY: There are approximately 437,000 youth in foster care in the United States. An estimated 700 children enter the system each day. Comfort Cases founder Rob Scheer has dedicated himself to providing essential supplies and dignity to these children. Scheer's own experiences in foster care, where he arrived carrying his possessions in a trash bag, motivated him to establish Comfort Cases. Since its inception, Comfort Cases has distributed more than 200,000 backpacks filled with essentials to children across the United States and beyond.
The community is invited to a healing walk at UCCS from 2-3 p.m. on Monday, February 19. The walk will begin at Roaring Fork dining hall and conclude at the mountain lion statue in El Pomar Plaza by the Kraemer Family Library.
UCCS Chancellor Jennifer Sobanet, Student Body President Axel Brown, and UCCS Chief of Police Dewayne McCarver will all give brief statements. Parking will be free on Monday. Transportation will be available for those who are unable to walk the full length of the route.
The best area to park would probably be lots 222 or 224 near the library, as that is where the walk will end. There will be a designated media area on El Pomar Plaza.
The community is invited to a healing walk at UCCS beginning at 2 p.m. on Monday, February 19. The walk will begin at Roaring Fork dining hall and conclude at the mountain lion statue in El Pomar Plaza by the Kraemer Family Library. UCCS Chancellor Jennifer Sobanet, Student Body President Axel Brown, and UCCS Chief of Police Dewayne McCarver will all give brief statements. Parking will be free on Monday. Transportation will be available for those who are unable to walk the full length of the route.