Posted by: csdailyblog | August 27, 2009

Natural Teachers

Morning mist over the lake (Photo by Jeff Rennicke)

Morning mist over the lake (Photo by Jeff Rennicke)

The preamble to the Conserve School Code points out that “we have embarked on a collective journey grounded in humility and a willingness to learn from all of life’s teachers – natural and human.”  Our faculty are exemplary, working hard to provide experiences that inspire, challenge, stretch, and delight our students (check out these blog posts for a sampling of their work).  The students act as human teachers, too, as they share their personal experiences, cooperatively solve problems, and challenge each other to see things from a different perspective.

It’s the natural teachers, however, that inspire today’s blog post.  We have much to learn from our interaction with the landscape and wildlife of our Lowenwood campus – we need only get “out there” to learn.  Much of this learning takes place in the unstructured times of our day, such as early morning or at the conclusion of the academic day.  A couple of days ago, as I was leaving for an early morning trail run, I encountered several students returning from their own run on the trails.  Before I

Evening paddle on Big Donahue

Evening paddle on Big Donahue (Photo by Jeff Rennicke)

had finished my run I also saw our Headmaster, trail trimming tools in hand, returning with his dog from a trail improvement project.  As a burgeoning thunderstorm ushered me home, I ran into Michael Salat walking his dog in the rain.  That evening, while on a walk, I saw Jeff Rennicke on the shores of Big Donahue Lake, taking advantage of the early evening light to take some photographs of the lake and some folks who were enjoying an evening paddle.  Each afternoon and evening before study hours I see students riding their bikes, playing ultimate Frisbee, and taking walks together.  I smile in the knowledge that these students and staff are using this time to not only relax and play, but to learn from their “natural” teachers.

The warm breeze coming through my open window invites me to come learn.  I think I’ll accept that invitation . . .

Phil

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