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Carlos students complete trip around southern Minnesota

From September 19-21, Carlos fifth and sixth graders took a trip around southern Minnesota to explore more of what the state has to offer. (Contributed photo)

If the Carlos fifth and sixth graders had travelled 750 miles straight south from Carlos, they would have ended up somewhere in southern Oklahoma or Arkansas. Instead, from September 19-21, the 45 students logged 750 miles in a loop around southeastern Minnesota, where they discovered the geological diversity that exists in the state.

Students experienced first-hand the geology of the granite quarries in St. Cloud, the bluffs above Winona, learned about various types of fossils, took part in a fossil search at Whitewater State Park and toured the formations of Mystery Cave in Forestville State Park.

Besides learning some geology, students also learned about the national bird at The National Eagle Center in Wabasha. For instance, a tiny lead sinker is toxic to a bald eagle, and an eagle can spot a rabbit from a mile away. Also, Minnesota has the second highest population of bald eagles in the U.S., Alaska having the highest.

For some, the biggest highlight of the trip was the challenge course at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center near Spicer. While there, students challenged themselves both physically and mentally.

Besides canoeing and navigating a climbing wall, students had a chance to be flung high into the air, propelled by fellow classmates on the Flying Squirrel. They also dressed as pioneers and experienced grinding corn, sawing wood, making rugs and many other pioneer tasks of the 1800s.

Taylor Meads and Eric Amundson, teachers of the students, noted that the bonding between students and teachers that occurred, the solid learning opportunities, the memories that were formed, all added up to an experience that was priceless.