--- Observing ---
It's good to see so many schools locally sending their students out into the field for projects. I've seen several groups wading around in Bear Creek taking samples of water and, I would guess, water life. I've also seen groups at Dinosaur Ridge and the paleontology museum in Morrison.
A necessary skill for survival and, in my opinion, a good life, is the ability to observe and evaluate what's going on around you. As I was growing up, schools didn't teach that. It seems to me that a life spent in front of a computer only teaches you to perceive the world in a 34x19 centimeter window; and where video games may present an element of chaos into ones life, frustration can always be turned off if it's computer generated. Real life isn't like that.
Every speck of nature in every direction is relevant. You can always look closer or farther out and see something new and surprising. It's like a good novel. A good novel is hard to read, not because it's written in esoteric language or because the style doesn't flow well, but because its dense. If you miss one sentence, you have missed something important. Nature is like that.
You can learn to be observant simply by being in nature with the intention of soaking up all you can. The best way to improve your senses and powers of observation is to use them.
I'm (slowly) producing a tutorial on observation skills. If you want to look at it, you'll need either LibreOffice or OpenOffice (which are free downloads) and the spreadsheet at http://www.theriantimeline.com/excursions/labbooks called "Observing and Recording".
Currently, I'm writing up explorations dealing with vision, but it's a growing project and I'll get around to the other senses if I live long enough.