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Penn State DuBois Students Visit the Grand Canyon

5/21/2008 —

DuBois - Honors students at Penn State DuBois took their spring trip to the Grand Canyon in May.  Students taking courses for honors credit are usually offered a spring trip as an enrichment activity and reward for their special academic efforts during the school year.  Formerly the program alternated trips between London and the Yucatan Peninsula, but more recently some have participated in the trips to Central America organized by Spanish Professor Deborah Gill.  Thus, Dr. James May, Honors Program Coordinator, chose the Grand Canyon as a destination.  

 May explained, “Hiking in the Grand Canyon builds a lot of camaraderie between the students.  And few students from our area have seen the desert southwest; few can imagine how grand, colorful, and beautiful that region is.  Also, a hiking vacation to the Colorado Plateau is well suited to our campus with its Wildlife Technology and Geo-Science programs.  The trip provides a vacation in a strange land where no passport is required, too.  With travel prices increasing, the Program’s funding from the University makes affordable an adventure that would normally be out of reach for students.”  May noted the trip cost students only $250-300 plus their meals.  

The group flew from Cleveland to Las Vegas and proceeded by van across the Hoover Dam to the South Rim.  After rising early, the students hiked the South Kaibab trail through the day.  On succeeding days, the group traveled east along the rim, viewing the canyon and Indian ruins in the park, and then visited Lake Powell, formed by the Glen Canyon dam, and traveled up to Zion National Park in Utah, to hike that jewel in the National Park System.  Emma Lisak of Punxsutawney thought Zion “as beautiful as the Grand Canyon” and wished  she’d saved enough film for it.             

For Leah Crosley of Brockport, long a student of geology, the trip was the answer to a longstanding wish. She was fascinated to learn, for instance, that the rocks seen at Zion National Park are all more recent than those at the Grand Canyon and would stand on top of the Grand Canyon if they’d not eroded away.  Leah came back with a load of books on the canyon as well as a full camera.  

For some students, the area outside the parks was just as interesting.  Jazmin Rosenberger of Punxsutawney enjoyed the stop in Page, Arizona, where her father and his brother grew up—stories from whose youths she recounted over a Mexican lunch there.  Walt Timblin of Morrisdale was glad the trip’s final night was spent in Las Vegas, where the group took pleasure in the casino’s architectural follies.             

Dr. May anticipates taking honors students back to the Grand Canyon and Zion national parks in 2010.  Next spring honors students can participate in Professor Gill’s campus trip to Spain or, if there’s sufficient interest, in a spring-break honors trip to London. 
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