As a youth, I had the fortunate experience of being able to do much of my learning outdoors. I attended Roots and Wings School for three years which was a pretty rich experience in my life. Much of our learning took place in the mountains. Our school took us on hiking trips to Gold Hill as well as many other trips into the Columbine Hondo wilderness. It was a school that helped shape my foundation to make me the person I am today. The learning was authentic and connected with real life. Out in the wilderness we were taught simple survival skills in addition to our "regular" academics. We were also exposed, on a very minor scale, to what it would be like to live without all the common pleasantries that people take for granted every day.
I have to say that those experiences in this wilderness really opened my eyes to the greater possibilities of life through connections with nature. Nothing really compares to hiking hard all day through the beautiful wilderness to stand atop a majestic mountain and enjoy the mesmerizing view.
I wish more young people could experience this and I do hope that the Columbine Hondo wilderness study area will be permanently protected for everyone to enjoy. Profits are already being reaped all over the world. How long will we continue to ravage nature just to make a fast dollar?
Gabriel Lefthand, Taos