Walking Mountains buys Sweetwater Creek parcels | VailDaily.com

Walking Mountains buys Sweetwater Creek parcels

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AVON — Walking Mountains Science Center has purchased 224 acres of property along Sweetwater Creek near Dotsero from Vail Mountain School. As a result of the sale, Walking Mountains will be able to expand access to educational programming for local students. Over the past two decades, Vail Mountain School has used the undeveloped site for science programs, and as a part of the sale it will still have access to the property for such purposes.

Walking Mountains' field science programs were at capacity in 2014, serving more than 3,500 students, with more than 750 students on a waiting list for the programs. The Sweetwater property will be a resource that will allow more Eagle County school children to participate in hands-on, field science programs provided by Walking Mountains. Eagle County Schools and Walking Mountains have an agreement to eventually serve 100 percent of the students.

"We are very grateful to Vail Mountain School for partnering with us in our goal of serving every student in Eagle County," said Markian Feduschak, president of Walking Mountains Science Center. "This land is important due to the limitations of our public land permits and owning a larger piece of private land allows us to serve more students and fulfill our mission."

Speaking on behalf of the Vail Mountain School board of trustees, Head of School Mike Imperi said, "We were tremendously happy when Walking Mountains expressed interest in the property. We partner with them to provide enrichment in our lower school science programs, and we know they can and will use this beautiful property to its full potential. Citizenship is a central element of Vail Mountain School's mission and community is one of our core values. We're excited that the sale will ultimately enrich the lives of children in Eagle County, including our own students, and benefit our local community."

This property will serve as a fourth location for Walking Mountains programs and is an excellent addition because of its diverse ecology and proximity to schools in Gypsum and Eagle. It also creates opportunities for new overnight camp programs, as well as family and adult programs.

"The property provides a different ecological community for our field science programs and increases the diversity of Walking Mountains' educational experiences for students, visitors and locals alike. The lower elevation provides a moderate climate which extends the non-winter seasons to allow us to serve more students," said Beth Markham, youth programs director at Walking Mountains Science Center.

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For more information about Walking Mountains Science Center, go to http://www.walkingmountains.org or call 970-827-9725. For more information about Vail Mountain School, go to http://www.vms.edu.