The Teton Trip absolutely changed my life.


The Teton Trip absolutely changed my life. It was during that trip when writing came alive to me. I had always struggled as a writer, but it was more of the fear of it, rather than the inability to express myself through the written word. During that trip, poetry opened new windows for me to reflect on the natural world, which I thrived in.

So much happen during that trip that remains apart of my life today. Principia has the unique opportunity to bring programs like this to students who can benefit from them. I hope that they build upon a program that has benefited so many over the years.”

David Bailey
Educational Director
The Link School
1987 Teton Trip

I came face to face with a huge bull moose for a full five minutes…


The Teton Trip was an extraordinary experience that put me in an environment where I matured and grew in ways that might have otherwise taken me years to accomplish. Instead of being “taught” valuable lessons, I got to self-see and experience incredibly important concepts first hand. Imagine what it’s like to be a kid from the suburbs and come face to face with that mountain range? To say that it redefined my concept of “OMNIPOTENCE” is putting it lightly. The Tetons also helped me see what it is to truly be quiet and still, and to understand my relationship with God and that environment.

The highly transferable life skills that I learned on that trip have stuck with me and served me very well over the years. For example, I got some much needed experience in being calm in a crisis when I came face to face with a huge bull moose for a full five minutes during a solo writing exercise. Skiing was initially very difficult for me, so I learned that being patient with myself and remaining undiscouraged despite many failures is a key ingredient to successfully learning something new. I also had a remarkable physical healing that has proven to be a cornerstone of my study of Christian Science to this day. There’s no question in my mind that these formative life lessons were a natural outcome of participating in that remarkable program and I’ve always been grateful to Principia and its faculty for providing such an opportunity.

I’m a huge fan of experiential education and have planned many, many educational trips for young people over the years — especially in my work with The St. Louis Children’s Choirs. I just got back from taking Upper Schoolers to NYC for the drama trip in early February.”

Phebe Telschow
1987 Teton Trip

…my most memorable week of high school ever!


“That week in the Tetons was my most memorable week of high school ever! Highlights include the rosemary chicken on the first night, snowball fights, funny quotes, revelations in art and writing, beautiful moon pictures, and late night journaling and sharing inspirational ideas. I still carry lessons with me from that week. I appreciated Greg Houda’s constant “No worries” attitude, finding fresh perspectives on life using unique journal activities, learning to use watercolors to splash a little more color into life, and valuing everyone’s ideas.

The snow of Kelly brought me back to my days growing up in Vermont and inspired me to later pursue a trip to Yellowstone National Park in the dead of winter! I also just returned from a 3 month trip in northern Patagonia, Chile where I was writing the whole time.

Constant memories of unique journaling ideas filled my thoughts as I recorded my journey. Thank you Teton Science Schools, Karla, Eleanor, Court, Nick, Greg, Kristin, Lisa, Mike, and Principia for offering such an unforgettable experience for high schoolers.”

Forrest Bless
2002 Teton Trip

I’m writing this from my snow-covered village in the High Atlas Mountains…

The High Atlas Mountains, Central Morocco

“As we flew home from the Teton trip, we swapped journals around and wrote messages to each other. Several people asked, ‘Did you remember to pack the mountains?’

Fourteen years later, my answer is still, ‘Absolutely.’

I’m writing this from my snow-covered village in the High Atlas Mountains of central Morocco. The mountains out my window aren’t as dramatic as the glacier-carved Teton peaks, but my life here has so many echoes of that week… There are the obvious ones, like the fact that I’ve worn long underwear and wool socks every day for months, and that I’ve got the raccoon-eyed tan of someone who wears sunglasses in the face of sunny snowfields. And then there are the subtle ones: I never imagined that I could draw before Greg Houda opened that door, and yesterday I helped paint a 100 square foot mural on the wall of a school. I didn’t value my creative writing skills before that week, and now I keep a daily blog, sharing my words with the world. My tree-hugging started long before the Teton trip, but I continue to cherish the lessons of “Creative Expressions in Nature” as I work as an Environmental Educator with the Peace Corps. (And before this adventure, I got to use them in my inner-city classroom, where I taught science.) Both in the classroom and out, I love sharing my love of nature.

But most importantly, the same joy in beauty, the same love of the soul-deep peace of mountain mornings, and even the same rejoicing in every one of God’s gifts…the same lights that illuminated the Teton Trip keep shining in my life, and I’m so very, very grateful for it all.

How ’bout you? Did you remember to pack the mountains?”

Liz Fuller
Peace Corps Volunteer, Morocco
1995 Teton Trip

The High Atlas Mountains, Central Morocco • photos by Liz Fuller

I knew I would go back there…


One of the most memorable experiences in high school!
The Teton Trip tied together some of my favorite things: writing, being out in the cold, dabbling in art and being with people in a challenging environment. I remember writing in my diary that I knew I would go back there… and I did. I think I’ve been back 7 times since then, mostly as a climber, but also as a student, sometimes winter, sometimes summer. That trip helped plant some of the seeds which grew into my college major and then a career in the outdoors. I loved the camaraderie between students and teachers and the chance to learn and grow in an informal way while still garnering a valid academic and artistic product–all in the world’s largest intact (non-polar) ecosystem. This was a pretty special opportunity.”

Sune Tamm-Buckle
1999 Teton Trip

Above: Sune on the summit of Grand Teton in 2005

I have looked at my journal nearly everyday since we came back…


The Teton Trip was one of the most inspiring and learning-filled trips I’ve ever been on! I learned that animals and the environment really are a part of our life, even though we may not spend all day in nature when we are at school, or a job (just in everyday life). But nature surrounds us, and I learned we should revolve around nature and not disturb or destroy it.

The Tetons are intimidating and beautiful. They really put human size into perspective. I never considered myself a naturalist or environmentalist, but seeing this natural beauty showed me that we should be doing everything in our power to protect it.

I had such a great time drawing and doing creative/ artistic journaling while on this trip, and I have looked at my journal nearly everyday since we came back from the trip 🙂 it was truly amazing :)!

Anneke Reed
2009 Teton Trip

(Some pages from my journal:)




…the single most influential time in my life…

2007-samuel-thomas-moon.jpg“The Teton Trip was one of the best experiences of my life. Now I know that a lot of people say that about things that they think are cool but for me, the January trip to the Teton Science School was the single most influential time in my life in forming an opinion about myself: who I was and who I wanted to become. The whole trip was gratifying but there was one day in particular where a lot of light bulbs went off in my head. This was the day when we went on our night hike. We left after dark and snowshoed for quite a while. When we stopped, we were told to lie down in the three feet of snow and be quiet. For a long period of time, no one moved. We all lay in the soft snow, eyes searching in the star-scattered, moon-lit sky for inspiration. That night was the first time in my life that I truly heard silence and it was that silence that completely cleared my head, allowing me to reflect on ME. I am extremely grateful for the whole trip, that night especially, and if the opportunity presented itself for me to go back, I would in a heartbeat.”

Samuel Thomas
St. Louis, MO
2007 Teton Trip

There’s nothing like the silence of snow…

“I learned that there is nothing like the silence of the snow, that moose leave steaming nests behind when you spook them out of their naps, that you should never try to birdwatch or explore nature with loud friends, that sunrises are not my thing (sunsets are), that moose scat looks edible (one girl tried it before she realized it was a joke played by another guy), that I CAN draw, that I like wood stoves better than furnaces, that you have to stay on paths when the snow is deep, that I can live without meat, and that I feel most alive when I’m cold.”

Kathryn (Hosmer) Thompson
Alton, IL
1984 Teton Trip

I have gained such a deep respect for the wildlife…

The 1993 Upper School trip to the Teton Science School was
I was a new student and was given the
opportunity to get to know my peers better and develop
strong bonds. One of which was Christian Fedele [a student from Puerto Rico] experiencing huge snowfall and learning to cross country
ski…it was hilarious! I would have probably not gotten a
chance to know him if I would have not gone on the trip. I
am still in contact with students from that trip today.

Now let me say a bit about how inspirational the outdoors
I remember waking up to the really
freezing cold and then feeling the sunlight warm my face and
gaze up into the mountains in pure awe. I have always had
an interest in animals and the education on the wildlife at
Teton Science School was so thrilling and hands on!!! The
trip to the Elk Wildlife Refuge in Jackson was too cool.

This trip did influence my studies as I attended college
where my major was Environmental Science.
Additionally it
inspired me to use my senior subject to be the wolf
reintroduction in Yellowstone and Idaho. I was able to
partake in a week long study with another research group
formerly called Yellowstone Ecosystem Studies. And today, I
live in Montana with my family in the mountains. Just this
morning I was an observer to two young fox kits playing with one
another in the field adjacent to where I was feeding horses.
I have gained such a deep respect for the wildlife in
nature. Thanks Teton Science School and Principia! I will
cherish the Teton trip forever. It is a no miss.”

Tasha Sylvester
Sales Manager
Bottega, Montana
1993 Teton Trip