This Wednesday, the Conserve School Community participated in Harvest Festival. This was a daylong celebration about learning to live more sustainability, building community, and enjoying local foods. To start of the day, Keynote Speaker Dr. Alan Haney from the University of WI—Stevens Point gave an eye opening talk about what we need to do to live more sustainably with the Planet. He set the tone very well for us to continue our discussions throughout the day about ways we can live more sustainably with Earth to insure the same (or improved) quality of life for us now and for people in the future.
After Dr. Haney’s presentation, everyone had the opportunity to participate in a variety of presentations and discussions throughout the morning and early afternoon. These presentations were on a wide variety of topics with a focus on sustainable practices. Debra Jircik’s presentation was on how growing food locally can help build local community. She also did a second presentation in the afternoon on the importance of seed saving and protecting plant diversity. Dick Logan’s presentation was on the sustainable projects that are being done on the Northern Highland American Legions State Forest. Presenter Doug Stingle talked about different types of renewable energy. Students had the opportunity to brainstorm the pros and cons of organic dairy farming and commercial dairy farming, and learn about the practices of organic farming in Loretta Jaus’s presentation. Barb Kass and Mike Miles’s presentation was about the challenges and practices of leaving a small footprint on our planet when we all have big feet, and Jay Salinas’s talked about revitalizing communities through sustainable practices.
Along with the presentations throughout the day, students also had the opportunity to participate in a collaboration project by a group called Treewhispers. This organization uses art, storytelling, and presentations to help people answer this question: How have trees nurtured, calmed, influenced, affected, protected you? For more information about Treewhispers please feel free to visit their website at http://treewhispers.com/
The celebration continued into the afternoon with students, staff, and graduate fellows all working together to prepare food for the Harvest Festival Dinner. All the apartments around campus filled with the wonderful smells of pumpkin, potatoes, turkey, homemade bread, apple pies and so many other really yummy foods. Most of the food for the Harvest Fest Dinner was produced locally including greens from the Conserve School garden and from presenters Mike and Barb’s garden.
To conclude Harvest Festival, everyone dressed up in their best clothes they brought with them to Conserve School and enjoyed all the delicious food that everyone worked together on making. S.E.A.L (Student Environmental Alliance of Lowenwood) gave a beautiful blessing before the meal to thank the Earth for all the food. They also put together a Wordle on what the Conserve School Community is thankful for. If you would like to share what you are thankful for as well, we would love for you to post your thoughts on the Conserve School Facebook Page. http://www.facebook.com/ConserveSchool
Overall, Harvest Festival was a great success and a huge Thank You to everyone who helped with this celebration.
A Special thanks to all our presenters, Dr. Alan Haney, Graduate Fellow Maria Kopecky, and those who took pictures.