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Best Apps for Exploring the Outdoors

kss outdoors apps

At Keystone Science School, we live, work, and play in the Colorado mountains. While we value "screen-free" time, we also utilize technology to help get us outside to hike, bike, climb, ski, and play. Here are our favorite outdoor apps for Android and iPhone that let us explore the outdoors safely. What are your favorite outdoors and adventure sports apps? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let us know!

Best Apps for Weather & Avalanche Conditions

Best Apps for Hiking, Biking, & Climbing

Best Map & GPS Apps

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What are the best outdoors books?

KSS Best Outdoor Books 02We recently got a question from a parent about our opinions on great outdoor survival books for kids. It got us thinking and we decided to ask our staff and make a list of our favorite wilderness adventure books. Whether you are looking for a holiday gift or birthday gift for your outdoor adventure-loving family member or are simply looking to expand your outdoors knowledge, we hope you find this list helpful. This list isn't separated by age or experience level, please do your own research before checking out any book on this list.

Best Outdoors Books - Nonfiction

  • Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
  • Storm & Sorrow by Robert W. Craig (KSS Founder!)
  • The Push: A Climber's Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond Limits by Tommy Caldwell
  • Ultimate High by Goran Kropp
  • The Boys' Book Of Survival by Campbell Guy
  • Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival by Denise Long
  • How to Stay Alive in the Woods by Bradford Angier
  • SAS Survival Handbook by Lofty Wiseman
  • A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
  • The NOLS Cookery by Claudia Pearson
  • Naturalist's Guide to Canyon Country by David Williams
  • The Long Walk: The True Story Of A Trek To Freedom by Slavomir Rawicz
  • Alive by Piers Paul Read
  • Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
  • Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper
  • Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales
  • Where the Water Goes by David Owen
  • Allen and Mike’s Avalanche Book by Allen O'Bannon and Mike Clelland
  • Winter World: Ingenuity of Animal Survival by Bernd Heinrich
  • Touching the Void by Joe Simpson
  • Surviving the Extremes by Kenneth Kamler

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Keystone Science School Outdoor Education Hosts Student-Led Gear Drive

Keystone Science School has partnered with Park County School District to provide each 3rd-8th grade student with a unique outdoor education program embedded within the traditional school day. The program is kicked off with a student-led gear drive so that each child can be prepared to explore and learn about their local environment. Community members can donate their unneeded winter gear to the program by dropping it off at the entryway of Edith Teter Elementary School between November 2nd to 23rd. The specific winter gear requested are snow pants, boots, gloves, hats, scarves, and jackets.

Keystone Science School has partnered with Park County School District to embed an outdoor education program within the traditional school day for each student in grade 3rd-8th grade. To learn more about the program and the inception of the idea, check out the KSS blog post, “Keystone Science School Partners with Park County School District.” The program is now asking the community to donate winter clothes to the program.

The Keystone Science School Outdoor Education program is in its first year but has already grown thanks to the efforts of Keystone Science School Instructor, Kendra Fuller, and the Park County School Administration including Edith Teter Elementary Principal, Laurel Dumas, and South Park Middle and High School Principal, Gretchen Panicucci. Together they have worked to provide transportation so that a rotating class of students will get a full day outdoor education program each Thursday.

kss and park county 3

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Keystone Science School Partners With Park County School District

KSS is working with each 3rd-8th grade student in Park County School District to offer a unique outdoor education program embedded within the traditional school day.

kss and park county 1Keystone Science School has been partnering with Park County Schools for over 10 years. In a typical year, the 5th-grade students from Edith Teter Elementary School visited Keystone Science School for an overnight outdoor education program each November. Students would hike as they learned about a variety of environmental science topics.

Their program would always include elements of teambuilding and field-based science. Due to COVID-19, an overnight field trip to Keystone Science School is not possible but their partnership with Park County Schools didn’t stop this year, it only grew. Instead of sending students for an overnight field trip, Keystone Science School is embedded within a typical school day for each 3rd-8th grade student within the Park Country School District.

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Where are they now? Victoria “Vikki” Crystal

kss where are they now vikkiWhere is Victoria “Vikki” Crystal now? Vikki was KSS Summer Staff from 2010-2012 and a camper/CAP from 2006-2009. She recently started the Ask a Scientist Podcast where she "sits down with a different scientist each episode and asks them all of your questions and questions written by students at elementary and middle schools throughout the country!"

We caught up with Vikki and asked her a few questions below.

What is your goal with the podcast?

The goal of the podcast is to make scientists more accessible to kids (and to the general public) and inspire kids to pursue their own interests and studies. I think it is really important for people (but especially kids) to 'get to know scientists' and to see that scientists are people just like them (and to see that being a scientist is a realistic and attainable career path).

What lifelong skills did you learn while working at KSS?

So many. The one that stands out the most is the ability to believe in myself. I used to struggle on Challenge Hikes at KSS. During my first few Challenge Hikes as a camper/CAP, I wanted to give up. I didn't think I could make it. But my fellow campers/CAPs and the counselors encouraged me to keep going and I did! I finished the Challenge hikes! And I also realized that I was capable of finishing the Challenge Hikes, even when I thought I wasn't. And that experience taught me to believe in myself. That even when it seems like I can't do something, I have the ability somewhere inside me to do it! And that is something I think about almost every day. Whenever I'm faced with a challenge that seems insurmountable, I remember that first Challenge Hike that seemed impossible but I did it and I remember to believe in myself.

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