What will you do this summer? If you're one of the lucky few at Atlanta's Kennesaw Mountain High School, you'll be exploring the U.S. while learning about the environment, and getting a hands-on education in the sciences.

This summer, as part of the Summer Earth Studies program, 24 students and six teachers will be waving goodbye to Atlanta and heading out for a three-week, intensive tour and exploration of the American West. Throughout the trip, the students will hike through spectacular mountains, cross and kayak cold rushing rivers, view abundant wildlife, climb rugged rock outcrops, and get to know new people and students from other schools. Oh, and they'll also be getting a first-class, hands-on education in geology, meteorology, astronomy, wildlife science, and environmental education.

Using the natural environment as their classroom, students will solve field problems covering topics such as petroleum exploration and production in Vernal, Utah; meterology in Moab, Utah; the formation of local caves in Rexburg, Idaho; and wolf habitat and reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park.  

And what do these students get for giving up a good chunk of their summer vacation (not to mention a good chunk of their savings accounts) to take this journey? Honors level science credits are a nice perk, as is the boost the course gives to the old college app. But the real benefit by far is the opportunity these students are given to get to know, appreciate, and protect the natural world. That kind of education is priceless.

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