A look at facilities and programs designed for the new Canyon Country Discovery Center
by Buckley Jensen
Mar 28, 2012 | 14517 views | 0 0 comments | 1833 1833 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Editors Note: This is the third in a series on the new Canyon Country Discovery Center being built north of Monticello.

The first installment in this series (Feb 22nd Issue) dealt with the 10 year history of the Canyon Country Discovery Center project. The second installment (February 29 issue) discussed the reasons why Monticello is so ideally suited for such a facility. Today, we look at some of the facilities and programs that will make the CCDC, the new campus of Four Corners School, one of the best of its kind in the nation, when construction is completed in 2015. Last year utility hookups to the Monticello City system were completed. Turning lanes off highway 191 were also built, and a magnificent entry sign was completed. (See picture with first installment.)

Located on 48 acres, the CCDC is adjacent to Monticello City limits. In accord with the educational philosophy of Four Corners School, the new programs of the Discovery Institute for Conservation Education, facilitated by the Country Discovery Center Campus, will be based on five content areas related to the Colorado Plateau: Natural History and Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau, People and Place of the Colorado Plateau, Canyon Country Land Use and Energy, Canyon Country Astronomy and Weather, and Water and its Effects on the Region.

CCDC’s 21,635 square foot facility will be a LEEDS certified building. Energy efficient technology will be utilized into a design derived from the Colorado Plateau’s landscape and native cultures – a round exhibit hall with a living roof, attached rectangular south-facing building for staff and conference/classroom space, and on the end a shop/storage space.

Both on-site and outreach programs will be offered from the campus of CCDC. However, the magic occurs when such a facility is located in the center of tens of thousands of square miles of mostly pristine mountains, deserts, and canyons known as the Colorado Plateau. In that setting, the CCDC has unlimited and endless possibilities for future growth and development.

Forty hands-on indoor and outdoor learning stations for multiple ages and diverse audiences will be written in English, Spanish and Navajo. The exhibit area will accommodate families, school groups, or individuals at learning stations facilitated by floor staff or Discovery Guides.

Outdoor classroom elements such as a Constellation Circle, Analemma, Pond and Wetlands, Nature Playscape, Animal Tracks, Geo-Strata Wall, Vertical Axis Wind Turbines, Ethnobotany Trails and Gardens, Solar Display Panel, Dendrochronology benches, a Wildlife Puzzle, and a Colorado River model stream table, will be available.

Onsite education programs for K-12 students and teachers within the Visitor Center will enhance and supplement any school’s core curriculum. These programs will be supplemented by “Discovery Guides,” trained education professionals intimately familiar with all exhibits and place-based education.

Astronomy will be a special part of the outdoor classroom with a complete roll-off roof observatory on site.

Teacher education programs, onsite, and outreach programs will build on and complement Four Corners School’s successful teacher education program established in 1998 – The Bioregional Outdoor Education Project. Professional development at CCDC will ultimately lead to certification in place-based education.

Education outreach, wherein staff will travel to communities on the Colorado Plateau to provide programs to schools and interested residents will offset the cost and legal limitations of students having to travel long distances.

Research projects may include such things as sustainable agriculture, alternative technologies for renewable resources, meteorology; mineralogy, technologies applicable to invasive species control, hydrology, resources use, and teacher professional development. A small field lab will be available for researchers.

The conference/community meeting hall and classrooms will the housed in a 2,000 square foot dividable area. When in a classroom configuration, this area will also be used by conference groups, local clubs, and special events. A “bouldering wall” will be available for after-school activities.

The Discovery Theater will be a complete theater space within the conference area that will host science programs, movies, and workshops.

After school and evening programs, workshops, and lectures will be open to the public and focused on the Discovery Center’s content areas. These programs and events will be opportunities for in-house research teams, faculty, or guests of the community to present their work, be it professional or amateur.

Certifications programs will include outdoor leadership, range/recreation technician, archaeology technician, and place-based education certification.

Next week, Janet Ross will be my guest columnist and will explore the benefits CCDC will have for Monticello, San Juan County, and the Nation.

See entire series:
1- Canyon Country Discovery Center – from a dream to reality
2- Why Monticello is the perfect place for the Canyon Country Discovery Center
3- A look at facilities and programs designed for the new Canyon Country Discovery Center
4- The Canyon Country Discovery Center by the numbers
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