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Students walk the DiscoveryPath at Yellowstone National Park

Earlier this month, Delaware North at Yellowstone hosted its fifth annual DiscoveryPath program for a group of seventh graders from Belgrade Middle School in Belgrade, Mont.

DiscoveryPath is a three-day, two-night educational program that brings students beyond their classrooms and into nature to discover the great outdoors. The course curriculum is based on the core themes of ecology, environmental sustainability, healthy living and teamwork. The three days were packed with classroom and hands-on activities that guided students to explore these themes.

During the trip, the students stayed at the Delaware North-owned-and-operated Holiday Inn West Yellowstone. The Branch Restaurant at the Holiday Inn provided all the food for the students, including the ingredients and staff to assist with the second annual DiscoveryPath “Chopped Challenge.” For this popular activity, students were split into six teams and tasked with preparing a full meal for a panel of judges – with the winner taking home the coveted “Golden Spatula” award.

The program also included a daylong guided trip exploring Yellowstone National Park with the Delaware North-owned-and-operated Yellowstone Vacation tours. Although the students live only 1.5 hours from Yellowstone, 20 of the 26 students got to experience the Old Faithful geyser erupting for the first time. “I loved the tours and seeing the amazing thermal features. I would 100 percent do it again,” remarked one student.

The bus trip was also filled with educational activities, including sustainability lessons at the Delaware North-operated Yellowstone General Stores, a National Park Service ranger-led program and an interactive Yellowstone food web activity.

This once-in-a-lifetime experience at America’s first national park proved memorable for the students and their chaperones alike. As one parent commented, “Thank you so much. There were so many very knowledgeable and engaging speakers! So much information and a very well rounded program. I feel very lucky that my child and I were able to attend.”