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Teaching Sites

moss letters in snow

Activity Center

The Activity Center is located within Ponderosa State Park and is the former Visitor Center for the park. The Activity Center marks the end of the road during winter months and the begining of the nordic trails. 

Aspen Grove

Aspen Grove

The Aspen Grove ecosystem houses one of the American West’s most iconic tree species: Populus tremuloides, named for its dancing leaves that turn a shimmering bright gold in the fall.

snowy trail


The main campround in Ponderosa State Park is in between the lake and the road in the park. The campground is closed during winter months and provides a great area to explore tracks in the snow!

water testing at day use beach

Day Use Beach

Students often canoe to or from the Day Use Beach, the beach mid-way down the peninsula in Ponderosa State Park. Day Use Beach is a great spot to collect water data or enjoy lunch!

Student looking over Duck Bay

Duck Bay

Duck Bay, a small bay in between the Day Use Beach and Osprey Point, offers a quiet view of the lake and excellent beach for exploring macros!

Kids on a big rock

Fox Run

Fox Run, a trail that connects to Lily Marsh on the East side, is home to many interesting geological formations. The trailhead is the one place in the park that has all three examples of the major rock types: igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary.

Student walks on log at Huckleberry Bay

Huckleberry Bay

Huckleberry Bay is the bay on the east side of the peninsula and is named for the abundance of huckleberry bushes in the area.

Lily Marsh in Summer, Becca Knudson 08/12/15

Lily Marsh

Lily Marsh is a perched wetland area in the center of the Ponderosa State Park peninsula. Here, students often don their waders and grab nets to collect and examine the aquatic invertebrates residing in the marsh.

Meadow Marsh, Facebook photograph 10-8-2015

Meadow Marsh

Meadow Marsh is smaller and drier, but no less beautiful than its slightly-more-northerly sister-wetland, Lily Marsh.

Canoes at MOSS Beach

MOSS Beach

The MOSS beach provides the launch site for canoe adventures and water data exploration during warmer months. During the winter, once the lake has frozen, the MOSS beach provides access to studying what is below the ice!

MOSS campus

MOSS Campus

MOSS campus, located in Ponderosa State Park, is on Payette Lake and surrounded by large evergreen trees - an excellent place for all science adventures to begin!

Osprey Point, Katie Mosman 9-22-2015

Osprey Point

Osprey Point is a basalt promontory on the very tip of the peninsula of Ponderosa State Park. Here, students often learn about the geologic history of the region, including the glacial carving of Payette Lake from an exquisite vantage 300 ft above the lake.

Students follow trail through Quad Forest

Quad Forest

The Quad Forest is a patch of land in between the MOSS campus and Ponderosa State Park. This area is a quiet spot often used for forest ecology data collection and snow pit digging in the winter.

Sagebrush Meadow

Sagebrush Meadow

The Sagebrush Meadow is one of the first ecosystems that students encounter when entering Ponderosa State Park. It is immediately recognizable by its strong sagey smell, except when it is buried by snow!

Treated Forest

Treated Forest

The Treated Forest is an area off the Meadow Marsh Trail that has been treated using thinning and prescribed fire by Park officials. This side of the trail was treated to decrease tree and plant abundance and create room for Ponderosa Pines to thrive.

untreated forest

Untreated Forest

The Untreated Forest is also off the Meadow Marsh Trail and across from the Treated Forest. This area was not thinned or burned to manage for the preferred tree species: Ponderosa Pines.