To help keep students and families occupied during the summer, the College of Science has been hosting science hikes to get people involved in the nature of hiking and learn why their environment is important.
The hikes focus on a different science each time: physiology, microbiology, botany or geology.
“Last year we did geo-hikes, but because of the great response we had, we wanted to reach out to other sciences,” said Sarah Yearsley, a Weber State University student who works for Weber Pathways.
On the microbiology hikes, the hikers learn about microbes in the water and how to purify the water. Botany hikes will show plant life and what is hazardous or edible. In geology, hikers learn about how the mountains and rocks were formed, and the weathering of the rocks on the trails. The physiology lessons focus on what the human body goes through during a hike.
Science hikes have stayed in the local Weber area so WSU can connect with the community. Yearsley said the turnout depends on the time of the year.
“This last hike we had about 10 people show up,” Yearsley said.
Information on the hikes is advertised in clubs, doctors’ offices and other parts of the WSU campus.
“I know there’s a lot of hikers at Weber State, and we want more students to come along and gain appreciation on what’s up there,” Yearsley said. She said some students might be coming from somewhere like Idaho and would like to learn about what goes on in the mountains.
Some of the hikes are led by WSU student Amanda Gentry, who knows about the geological area of the hikes.
“I’ve been supporting Sarah in what she does, and will lead some hikes if no one else can,” Gentry said.
Gentry, a geology major, said the hikes give her a chance to teach geology.
“Every time you open a rock, you’re the first person in history who ever sees it, and relaying that enthusiasm is a lot of fun,” Gentry said.
Gentry said one hike that stood out was a waterfall hike, on which the group found 1.8-billion-year-old rock formations.
“You explain to people that there was an earthquake right where they were staying millions of years ago,” Gentry said.
Gentry said she and Yearsley are working on getting trail signs up on the hikes to inform people about the scientific aspects of where they are hiking. She said the hikes need more advertising, so that more people will show up.
Gentry and Yearsley worked with David Matty, dean of the College of Science, to create the science hikes program.
“The geology is fantastic, but the botany system and the plants and animals all contribute to this area,” Matty said.
Matty said they were trying to come up with ideas to attract more attention to the College of Science and came up with the idea for science hikes.
“Any time we can get word out to the community about how much science affects us, it’s a good thing,” Matty said.
Matty said he hopes people who go on the hikes will learn about how the earth and people interact.
“I think any time we get out there and we let people know that science is good, it just helps us to understand our world,” Matty said.
Three more hikes are left this summer. One will be July 14 at Malen Peak, another on Aug. 18 at 27th St. Trailhead to Taylor, and the last on Sept. 22 at Beus Trail.
“Each one of these hikes has been planned in order to enhance our community’s knowledge and appreciation for our natural surroundings within Weber County,” Yearsley said.