Posted by: csdailyblog | October 21, 2010

Recreating the Corps of Discovery at Conserve School

The Dug-out Floats!

The dug-out canoe made by students and modeled after those used by Lewis & Clark was launched with great fanfare this week, and to everyone’s delight it turned out to be very seaworthy. Despite predictions that the dug-out would roll  and dump its passengers moments after leaving shore, the canoe bobbed high in the water and turned out to be easy to maneuver. Amazing!

Annelise and Kayla strike a Corps of Discovery pose in the dug-out canoe students created.

The dug-out, over a year in the making, started out as a 1,000-pound log donated by Dan Wait of Frontier Builders, a local construction company that specializes in log homes. (You can see their crane and building projects on Highway 45 close to where you turn off at County Road B on the drive to Conserve School.) Last year’s students began the process of hollowing out the log. This year’s students finished the process, shaping the canoe with hand tools in the style of Lewis and Clark.

Enjoy the photos of pairs of students taking turns paddling the dug-out around Little Donahue Lake, right behind our main academic building. For more information on the journey and the dug-out canoes the Corps of Discovery built along their way, take a look at this outstanding University of Nebraska site, which presents the journals of Lewis and Clark and extensive supplementary material.

Lewis and Clark aka Kyle and Walker

Earlier in the week, students cooked over a fire, using historic recipes from the era of Lewis and Clark and foods that the Corps of Discovery might have had at hand. First students prepared the ingredients in the Lowenwood Recreation Center, peeling potatoes, chopping onions and fennel, and mixing up batter for cornbread. Then they moved operations to the fire ring on Big Donahue Lake, right behind the LRC, where they cooked their meal using two Dutch ovens in the coals and one hanging from a tripod. Just like the dug-out, this project too went well, despite how tricky it is to cook over an open fire. The food was done quickly and thoroughly, without any burning, and everyone pronounced the meal surprisingly tasty.

Kira and History Teacher Michael Salat listen to Johnny read the early-19th-century recipe he chose for the meal.

What a success! Congratulations to History Teacher Michael Salat for organizing and supervising these projects and to our students, who combined elbow grease and intellect to accomplish these challenging tasks.

Take a peek at Michael’s website for more stories and photos from the history unit on Lewis and Clark.

Mary Anna

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