It's been a long time since I blogged...

...to say we've been busy is an understatement. The last couple of months have been so full at MPEC, dominated by gearing up for and starting the 2009/2010 Earth Studies program for all Pueblo City Schools 5th graders, and completing Phase 2 of the Horseshoe Lodge.
Painting, furniture, kitchen needs, and creating the many systems to support our new overnight facilities are why I haven't blogged. I am very happy to write that the west wing's 11 overnight rooms plus 8 restrooms plus a couple of breakout rooms plus the fully upgraded kitchen plus the beautiful dining area all look great. Many generous volunteers and donors stepped forward to bring this home stretch part of Phase 2 to completion. We just put it all to the test with a 5-day retreat rental this past weekend, when 13 women from around the US and Canada arrived for a retreat-coach training. All in all, the Lodge and our systems performed very well - the rooms were warm and the showers were hot (thanks to our biomass heating system), the food was great, and all had a great time. We still have a few kinks to work out, but Phase 2 of the Lodge is essentially complete, save for a few projects currently in the works.
Simultaneous with all of this has been a great start to our Earth Studies program...nearly every week day since the last week of August, 60 - 75 students are in the park for hands-on environmental education. New this year, all students from the Beulah School are participating in Earth Studies as well (we modified the curriculum to accommodate all K-8 students).
The park itself has seen October bring quite a bit of snow. This morning's 1.8" brought the total snowfall for the month to almost 19", and it's been snowing all day, with projections for snow through tonight and into tomorrow. October 2009 snowfall looks like it will top 24", which is more snow than October has seen in many years. This may be a great year or snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the park.
I hope to blog a bunch more in the coming weeks, sharing photos of the recent weeks of programs and lodge efforts...the rooms have turned out beautiful, and we'll soon be ready to take rentals. And blogs on the park's natural areas, as this fall morphs into winter (which seems to be happening early this year). Happy (snowy) trails, Dave