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Field Modules and Evening Programs

The residential program curriculum is made up of field modules and evening programs, which can be customized to meet your specific academic and social development needs. Contact us for more details regarding customization options.

Field modules vary by season, and you may choose which modules your class learns each day.

The first, second, and last evening program of every week, no matter the length, is pre-determined. The first night is a variety of science lessons and introductions to MOSS. The second night is an assistantship station showcase. The graduate students will demonstrate their research in fun, hands on activities. The last night is campfire and slideshow, a fun way to wrap-up the time at MOSS. For five-day programs, teachers need to pick one additional evening program. If no selection is made we will choose something for you. Teachers can also create something new or lead their own evening program. Our programs can be customized to meet your specific academic and social development needs. Contact us for more details regarding customization options.

Field Modules

Energy Day

Students engage with and explore various types of energy

  • energy transformation
  • potential and kinetic energy
  • energy chain between trophic levels
  • renewable and nonrenewable forms of energy
  • analysis of various forms of energy

Geology Rocks!

An exploration of the geological history of McCall and its influence on present day vegetation

  • Glacial geology / landforms
  • Volcanoes / landforms
  • Rock types / rock cycle
  • Soil
  • Erosion & the role of vegetation
  • Succession
  • Affects of vegetation on ground and surface water

Go with the flow!

A study of water, its journey through the watershed, and the organisms that depend on it

  • Watersheds
  • Water quality (pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, transparency, temperature)
  • Water cycle
  • Erosion & the role of vegetation
  • Things that live in and around water (fish, macros, amphibians)
  • People’s use of water and social issues
  • Affects of vegetation on ground and surface water

Exploring Ecosystems

Comparing and contrasting ecosystems within Ponderosa State Park

  • Ponderosa pine ecosystem / fire ecology
  • Sagebrush steppe / rangeland ecology
  • Aspen / dogwood ecosystem
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Diversity
  • Succession
  • Evaluating the value of a tree as biofuel and the amount of carbon it can sequester

Awesome Adaptations

Investigating the unique characteristics of central Idaho’s resident organisms

  • Learn about the special forms and functions that allow plants and animals to live in this climate
  • Individuals and their unique features (Ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, sagebrush, aspen, insects, mule deer, ground squirrels, osprey, etc.)
  • Succession

Humans and Winter

Students will:

  • learn how to dress appropriately to stay warm and dry in winter weather
  • learn how to use snowshoes to travel in snow environments
  • discuss the importance of proper hydration and nutrition in staying warm and comfortable

Snow Science

Students will:

  • learn about different snow crystal types and how snow changes when it is on the ground
  • dig snow pits and compare the snowpack in different parts of Ponderosa State Park
  • measure how much water is in the snow and compare this to data from SNOTel stations in our watershed
  • discuss the importance of the snowpack to Idaho ecology, economy, energy generation, recreation and culture

Animal Tracking and Adaptations

Students will:

  • learn track patterns of different animals
  • measure tracks and use evidence to identify the animal that left them
  • learn about strategies that different plants and animals have to surviving in our winter environment
  • use tracks and signs to make inferences about animal adaptations and behavior in winter

Evening Programs

  • Career Night – graduate students give short presentations about various careers, classes, or programs they have been involved in.
  • Career Night Featuring Chaperones - chaperones give short (about 15 minutes depending on the number of presenters) about various science careers they have worked in. Requires organization ahead of time by teachers to ensure there are enough presenters and so the presenters can bring any needed materials.
  • Science Jeopardy – students play jeopardy using terms learned from the week.
  • Physics of Bridge Building – students create bridges out of paper and paper clips testing to see which can hold the most pennies.
  • Plant Scavenger Hunt – students take cameras out to take pictures of various identified plants.
  • Egg Drop - teams work together to develop an egg holder with straws and tape that will protect the egg when dropped from ceiling height.
  • GeoCaching at MOSS - teams work together to find clues placed around the MOSS campus using map and compass. (F/S)
  • Interactive activities with Wildlife trunks from Snowden Wildlife Sanctuary. Trunks can be used in any combination. Trunks available are: Bears, Owls, Mustelids (Weasel family), Corvids (Ravens, Crows, Jays & Magpies), Canids (Wolves, Coyotes & Foxes) and Diurnal Birds of Prey.
  • Renewable Energy - students learn about various types of energy sources and evaluate the pros and cons of each.
  • Biofuel - students learn about various sources of biofuel and evaluate their sustainability.
  • Planes In Flight - students evaluate the sustainability of jet fuel from the perspective of various government agencies.
  • Lifecycle of a Fuel - students use a lifecycle assessment framework to evaluate the impacts of producing various types of fuel.
  • Fuel Debate - students debate about the more sustainable fuel option for our region.
  • Bat Chat- Students learn more about these mysterious creatures of the night and why bats are awesome through chatting with a staff member who is a 'bat enthusiast', and participating in some hands on activities. (F/S/W)

  • Nature Art – students use nature items outside to create artwork that will be photographed, includes presentation of Andy Goldsworthy's work. (F/S)
  • Nature Tiles – students collect nature items to press into play dough. The creations go home at the end of the week.
  • Snowflake – students create snowflakes out of play dough after seeing short presentation about the different types of snowflakes. (W)
  • Science Poem – students create poems (like a haiku) of what they have learned.

  • Hobby Night – graduate students give short presentations of various activities they enjoy doing in their free time (ex: mountain biking, kayaking, climbing etc.). (F/S)
  • Smoke Jumper – local smoke jumpers (a type of fire fighter) give a video and presentation about their job. (F/S)
  • Movie Night – your choice of movie (please bring) or we have Planet Earth
  • Game Night – teachers bring games for students to play with
  • Town Hall Meeting – Students play the role as various stake holders in a town. The "stake holders" problem solve to deal with a predetermined issue e.g. fire, water rights, town planning (building)

Teachers and Chaperones

Your Role at MOSS...

MOSS could not happen without you! We look forward to having you as a part of the MOSS team. The program offers many exciting activities, new experiences, and fun times. As a chaperone you have a demanding, yet vital job. Without your participation, these students may not be able to have this experience. We hope that you find it as rewarding as we do! MOSS graduate students are responsible for instruction. Teachers and chaperones are responsible for student supervision and well-being at all times. Upon your arrival, program staff will meet with you to review this information. Please bring any questions, concerns or suggestions along. We look forward to meeting and working with you.

Please click on the links below for more detailed information about your upcoming adventure at MOSS. If you have questions about your role, tips for future chaperones or other comments please contact Beth Kochevar at 208-885-1084 or at

Tips For Chaperones

  1. You will be accompanying an instructional group in the field. The MOSS graduate students will be responsible for instruction and primary student control. However, you may be called on to assist in monitoring small group activities and large group management. Often, chaperones bring up the rear of the group on the trail to be sure no one gets left behind.
  2. A philosophy at MOSS is to always use positive encouragement. We appreciate your help in supporting this philosophy.
  3. Games and fun group activities during cabin time are encouraged. Past chaperones have found cards helpful and story books, especially for winding them down at night.
  4. The chaperone on the other half of the cabin is your ally. If you need to step out and shower before the students are up, open the center door and they can watch both halves of the cabin during this time.
  5. Electronics are strongly discouraged in the field, except for learning related technology provided by MOSS. Field instructors and chaperones are encouraged to carry cell phones on for emergency purposes.
  6. Electronics can encourage homesickness. If you need to check in at home or work please step away from the group.

Contact Us

College of Natural Resources

Physical Address:
1800 University Lane
McCall, ID 83638

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1025
McCall, ID 83638

Phone: 208-885-1080

Fax: 208-634-5244



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