The seventh grade trip to Frost Valley and the Howe Caverns was a great success. We had fun walking through the caverns and seeing such calcite formations as Chinese Pagoda, pipe organ, bride's altar, and the turtle. The last section was especially narrow and opened high above our heads. The tour culminated with a sluicing activity after which everyone's pockets were filled with a wide variety of interesting gems. Our bus ride from Albany to Claryville through rural New York opened our eyes to the storm devastation to homes, bridges, roads, and river beds caused by hurricane Irene. We arrived in time for dinner at Frost Valley and our evening activity gave us a greater appreciation for nocturnal animals as we explored our own "night vision." We woke to a beautiful sunrise and participated in outdoor adventure activities focused on building team work and kindness. After lunch we explored freshwater pond ecology finding salamanders, snails, nymphs, larva, and water striders. The pond had healthy, dissolved oxygen and pH levels. We then enjoyed being in the woods, walking along the brook, viewing incredible rock formations, and relaxing to the sounds of the rushing water. The chaperones complimented the seventh graders' cheerful, helpful demeanor and their willingness to be unplugged and fully engaged in the activities throughout the trip. We are looking forward to spending more time with them at Frost Valley in September.