Yesterday the students of CS5 participated in their first Stewardship in Action activities for the semester. Every week the students are expected to give back to the community by volunteering for a task that needs to be completed at Conserve School. The students give their time and talent, and in return everyone in the community benefits. We hope that our students will take this to heart and continue to be good stewards of their land and communities in the future as well.
This week we had 8 different activities that the students were able to sign up for. Several students helped to increase the marking of our borders with Sylvania by placing additional yellow posts on the border. Other students volunteered their time by picking up trash on Black Oak Lake Road, while wearing delightful orange safety vests. Another group of students signed up to create tools for harvesting wild rice in the traditional fashion, including poles for moving through the wild rice beds, and “knockers” for removing the rice from the plants.
Quite a few of the students helped out in the Conserve School garden in differing capacities. Some of the students in the garden harvested the vegetables that were ready to be picked and pulled, and also performed the never-ending task of removing the weeds from our garden beds. Other students took the weeds that had been pulled and created a lasagna bed, which surprisingly enough has very little to do with the tasty Italian dish. If you are unfamiliar with what a lasagna bed is, it is essentially a method for creating a raised garden bed by alternating layers of “green” materials such as vegetable scraps, grass clippings, or even the weeds pulled from the garden with layers of “brown” materials such as newspaper, cardboard, leaves or straw. The layering process is where the bed gains its name.
Another very important task that was signed up for was invasive species removal both on campus, and on the shores of Black Oak Lake near the estate. Conserve School does its best to keep invasive plants from overtaking the natural plant communities here in the Northwoods. Students removed spotted knapweed, wooly mullen, and Canada thistle from the trails and area around the garden. Other students removed Crown Vetch from the shores of Black Oak Lake near the estate to prevent the once ornamental plant from spreading to other locations on Black Oak Lake.
Last but not least was the group of students who helped out in the kitchen. Students started the long process of preparing for Exploration week by making turkey jerky and granola, while a few others prepared treats for the house meetings that night.
Overall, I think that all of the students enjoyed themselves while helping the Conserve School community
~Graduate Fellow Mandy Lundmark