Posted by: csdailyblog | August 30, 2010

Conserve Students Make Waves in Field Instruction

Students carry one of the canoes down to the boat landing on Big Donahue Lake next to the Lowenwood Recreation Center (LRC).

Two or three afternoons a week, students head outside to Field Instruction, an adventure-based physical education course for which they earn 1/2 credit. This first week of Field Instruction was spent testing students’ paddling and swimming skills, reviewing safety guidelines for water activities, and teaching basic safety and rescue skills, like the canoe T-rescue. The first segment of Field Instruction is focused on preparation for Exploration Week, when students and staff spend a week canoeing or hiking off campus in small groups.

Field Instruction is taught by a group of five graduate fellows in residential environmental education at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, which is well-known for its strong natural resources and environmental education programs. The graduate fellows are in their second year of a master’s program at the university, through which they receive training in environmental studies and education. These graduate fellows fulfill a critical role at Conserve School. In addition to teaching Field Instruction classes, they supervise the residence houses, plan and run extracurricular activities, and support all aspects of Conserve School life.

Training started out by the canoe racks behind the Lowenwood Recreation Center, on the shore of Big Donahue Lake.

Knowing how to get the canoes on and off the racks safely and gently, with minimum wear and tear on the canoe as well as the paddlers, is an important first step in learning about Conserve School waterfront guidelines.

The lake is just a short walk away from the racks.

Students prepare to get the canoes out into the water.

Students enjoy the warm sun and beautiful views while instructors gauge their paddling skills.

Tippling the canoes is fun and also an important part of the training, since students learn how to right the canoe and get back in quickly.

Students perform a T-rescue. One end of the tipped canoe is pulled up over another canoe and then turned right side up.

We continue to have warm, sunny weather. The waterfront is currently a very popular location, with students spending many pleasant hours swimming and boating, both in field instruction and during their free time.

Mary Anna



  1. Emma, Looks a bit easier than dumping on the Ontanogan River this summer.

  2. I can remember the times we did this at the beginning of the school year – everyone would jockey for position around the canoe racks in an attempt to secure one of the composite canoes. The sheer tonnage of the aluminum canoes, however, made them undesirable for the fact that they were so much harder to perform a T-rescue on.

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