Photo courtesy of the Andrews.
0412 Treeline Expeditions
Bill and Suzanne Andrews with Alexandra and Ryder at Park City, Utah.
Bill Andrews and Suzanne Andrews are not only partners in fifth grade education at Mountain Brook Elementary, teaching history and science, respectively, but they also are married and share a passion for camping in the great outdoors. It is this passion they want others to learn by inviting ninth through twelfth grade students to go “unplugged” with them this summer.
Bill Andrews grew up in Mountain Brook, attending MBE, MBJH and MBHS and was an admittedly quiet, shy student. However, in high school, friends got him interested in camping, and he has loved the outdoors ever since. The annual fifth grade Camp Alpine trip inspired a new summer camping experience called Treeline Expeditions. Two summer backpacking expeditions will give high school students an opportunity to join the Andrews on two-week explorations of the beautiful Pecos Wilderness near Sante Fe, N.M. Also accompanying the group will be their children, Alexandra, 16 and Ryder, 15, both students at Homewood High School.
When asked about the name of their company, they responded that the “treeline” is a natural separation in the wilderness. Below the line, the ecosystem below being viable, healthy and more comfortable. However, above the treeline, life changes, and resources are fewer and the land more barren. This name is to parallel how students live comfortably at home with a wealth of resources, but when placed in an unfamiliar environment, the choices they must make and problems they must solve allow them to adapt and grow. Learning outside the classroom walls allows students to leave their comfort zones physically, emotionally and mentally and gives them a chance to shine in a different light.
“Shy kids, like I was,” said Bill, “can learn self-reliance and self-confidence and develop leadership skills when placed in a setting other than the traditional classroom.”
Why the Pecos Wilderness? The snow will be melted and daytime temperatures will be in the 70s with night time lows in the 40s. Additionally, it has easy access to the airport in Albuquerque, and its diversity showcases lush, forested valleys contrasted with beautiful vistas atop the many alpine peaks.
Offering two sessions, June 14-27 (only one spot left) and July 1-14, the camping adventure is open to all high school students.
Bill has developed qualifications for being a leader in the wilderness with his 20+ years in field experience. Additionally, he is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Yukon - Backpacking for Outdoor Educators and is trained and certified as a Wilderness First Responder, requiring recertification every two years. He has taught 14 years in the classroom and is Director of the Lookout Mountain Educational Experience. Suzanne has taught in the classroom for 21 years and is an instructor at the Lookout Mountain Educational Experience. Their family has participated in numerous similar expeditions to the Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Weminuche Wilderness and Pisgah National Forest, among others.