Traveling Back in Time – May 18, 1980
Did you know that on that date, the United States experienced its most destructive volcanic event? Mount St. Helens National Monument, an active stratovolcano in southwestern Washington, underwent a massive eruption over 34 years ago that resulted in widespread damage and dramatically altered the region. Last month, I ventured west to explore this rugged landscape with 75 brave fifth graders from Boise-Eliot/Humboldt School (Portland, OR).
We started our day on the north side at the Johnston Ridge Observatory, learning from park rangers about the geology of the volcano and the events that led to its eruption. Massive trees were splintered at the base, the landscape is still barren in many areas and the top of the mountain is missing after more than three decades. In fact, the eruption was so powerful that the entire north side of the volcano blew off, dropping the summit over 1300 feet – now that’s a big landslide! We then departed the ridge and visited the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater for some hand-on activities. The students identified different rocks, reconstructed maps of the earth’s plate tectonics, learned about volcanic and earthquake monitoring equipment, and hiked around the base of the volcano. What an amazing day in a truly unique park!
Thank you Prudential Financial for sponsoring Boise-Eliot/Humboldt as a Buddy Bison school this year and for funding this magnificent park experience that will be treasured forever!