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Winter wonderland school
SCICON students have true snow day
Sixth grade students from Visalia, Dinuba and Earlimart spending the week at SCICON, Tulare County’s outdoor school of science and conservation located on 1,100 acres above Springville, awoke to a pleasant surprise Wednesday morning — snow.
In all, 260 sixth graders were treated to the white winter-wonderland setting, with snow covering the ground, while capping plants, trees and boulders.
“We saw in the forecast that there would be snow flurries Tuesday evening and possibly on Wednesday so we were not totally surprised,” said Rick Mitchell, SCICON administrator. “But we didn’t expect this much. It’s beautiful. We had at least three feet of snow this morning.”
The snow did not prevent the 16 scheduled groups from hiking through the area.
“All of our trail guides, when an opportunity comes along like this, capitalize on it,” Mitchell said. “They immediately add snow lessons and also let the students play in the snow a bit. They made snowmen and threw snowballs, not at each other, but at a target — a tree or something.”
The snow was something several students said they were experiencing for the first time.
“It was beautiful and a total surprise to me,” said Sara Lopez, a sixth grader from John F. Kennedy Elementary in Dinuba. “I was also shocked because the snow was really high. I had never seen snow this close before.”
The sentiment was one expressed by several sixth graders.
“Me too. This was my first time in the snow,” said Jamilex De Dios, also a sixth grader at JFK Elementary. “But I was worried because it was going to be cold.”
Lopez said she built the first snowman of her life.
“It was small but it was fun. I named him Bob,” Lopez said. “The teacher let us throw snowballs and I made a snow angel.”
SCICON is visited by 15,000 fifth- and sixth-grade students each year for a one-day or week-long experience in outdoor education, natural science and conservation. While there, they visit SCICON’s natural history museum, raptor center, planetarium and observatory, and a tree nursery. They also attend daily classes with their instructors.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.