Posted by: csdailyblog | April 22, 2011

Celebrating Earth Day at Conserve School

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Since our spring break starts today on the official Earth Day, April 22, we began Earth Day celebrations early this week. On  Wednesday afternoon during “Stewardship in Action” time, we set up hoop houses in the garden, placed new bees in their hives, and made an organic, vegetarian lunch for a special field trip day on Thursday. After dinner Wednesday, students put on lively and humorous presentations for one another on environmental themes. 

On Thursday morning, we all started the day together by watching a beautiful PowerPoint presentation Science Teacher Andy Milbauer assembled from nature photographs and pledges that students had contributed. Each student’s pledge included why they appreciated the Earth and what steps they would take to preserve its health. (I’ll post the prsentation soon here on the blog.) Starting mid-morning on Thursday, we all traveled to nearby Watersmeet, Michigan, to tour a Forest Service nursery. We then stopped at the Ottawa National Forest Visitor’s Center, where we ate the wonderful lunch students had prepared the day before, complete with homemade bread and spreads. In the afternoon, students carried out community service work at a privately owned historic trout hatchery, first learning how to estimate the number of trout in each tank and then carrying out the counts. Students also cleaned ponds, washed windows, and hauled trout that arrived during our visit in a tanker truck.

Chilly temperatures kept the ground frozen and foiled our hopes of doing community service at the Forest Service nursery — the soil was still too hard to lift seedlings out of the ground — but we were still able to enjoy a tour of their greenhouses and to talk with the assistant director of the nursery about her training in forestry at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and about the operations of the nursery.

The sun shone warm and bright for us, despite the cold temperatures, and all in all the field trip couldn’t have been more enjoyable. Our students are such a pleasure to travel with! We truly enjoy their company. They are always courteous guests, listening carefully during presentations and asking thoughtful questions. The fish hatchery owners treated us with homemade cupcakes at the end of our visit, and asked us to come again to do  more community service — they say they have plenty of work to go around!

Special thanks to Jean Haack, Stewardship Coordinator, and Robert Eady, Science Teacher, who planned ahead for us and made the Earth Day arrangements.

The accompanying photos are just a few of many taken this week. I will be posting more soon.

Mary Anna

This Earth Day field trip is just one example of the many hands-on, conservation-based activities that students participate in regularly during a semester at Conserve School.

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