Marfa students participate in Big Bend river trip 

Marfa High School student Febi Brimhall enjoys a canoe trip on the Rio Grande with fellow environmental systems classmates. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Donaldson.

BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK — A handful of Marfa High School juniors and seniors recently experienced a river tour excursion on the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park as a part of teacher Elizabeth Donaldson’s environmental systems class. 

Students have been compiling “field guides” as a part of the course, containing grasses, shrubs, trees, flowers, succulents, birds, reptiles, insects, mammals and minerals of Big Bend. On their trip to the national park, students utilized their field guides to identify various flora and fauna in the park. 

From left: Uriel Torres, Jose Sandoval, Juan Bautista, Dimetrey Stewart, Febi Brimhall, Donel Lara and Far Flung Outdoor Center river guide Olivia Gonzales. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Donaldson.

“Several students have never ventured into the park, or if they have, they weren’t equipped with a vast array of knowledge that they will have this time,” said Donaldson. 

Donaldson said students have been learning about a variety of environmental regions around the world, but the course has continuously focused on the Chihuahuan Desert, Trans-Pecos and the Big Bend area. 

Marfa High School student Juan Avila recently participated in a Rio Grande canoe trip with his environmental systems class. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Donaldson.

Student Tori Torres said she enjoyed the challenge of canoeing on the Rio Grande River and logged a number of locations, plants, and animals on the trip. 

“My favorite part of the trip was most of us going to swim in the spot where we had lunch,” wrote Torres in an essay about the trip. “I would love to return.”