KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Eighteen students from Bishop Ward High School here, along with five educational and business leaders, took an expedition across the state of Kansas June 15-20 to explore the environmental sciences through the perspective of faith under the program called “Earth, Wind and Fire III.”
The journey began by train travel to Garden City, where community members at St. Dominic Catholic Church hosted meals and arranged for at our of the Garden City Zoo and of a bison ranch.
The second day featured a guided tour through the Sunflower Electric Holcomb powerplant. That afternoon, the group visited the Spearville Wind Farm, giving the students an inside look at two important sources of electricity in Kansas. A discussion on the future of coal and wind as primary sources of electrical energy for Kansas followed.
The expedition then continued across Kansas nab us led by a mobile science/equipment trailer and included hands-on learning opportunities such as fossil hunting on the Smoky Hill Riverbanks, star-gazing with the Father Coyne, SJ, school telescope, and wildlife viewing and study at Cheyenne Bottoms Wetlands area.
Fort Hays State University hosted a day and evening for students and leaders to learn about the curriculum, research, and opportunities for undergraduate study in the environmental field sciences. The chance to tour Sternberg Museum’s private collection capped off the day.
The theological/spiritual opportunities incorporated in to the camp included daily prayer and reflection and a special prayer service at St. Fidelis Church, known as the Cathedral of the Plains, in Victoria.
The final two nights were spent camping at Kanopolis State Park in the Little Bluestem area, providing all members of the Earth, Wind and Fire team a true outdoor experience in Kansas. From the base camp, the group took a day trip to Hutchinson, and went 650 feet under ground in to the salt domes — in keeping with the the me of the trip, “Salt of the Earth.”
This is the third year Bishop Ward has hosted the Earth, Wind and Fire program, designed to give students the opportunity to explore their interests in science outside the traditional school classroom.