Backpacks lined the entryway into the Lowenstine Academic Building (LAB) at Conserve School yesterday morning at 7:20 a.m. Not your typical school backpacks, though, that you would normally find in the LAB during the school day, but backpacks filled with trail mix, tents, and enough camping gear for a six-day wilderness exploration trip. 58 students, 12 graduate fellows, and three teachers headed out after breakfast yesterday to go explore the Northwoods.
Exploration Week is a unique part of the Conserve School Semester that allows the students to put all the skills that they learned during Field Instruction class into practice. There are eight to ten students along with two staff members in each group during Exploration Week. The small group size allows the students to play a big part in the planning process of their wilderness trip. Throughout the week, students will be backpacking or canoeing, practicing their back-country camping skills, exploring and enjoying the Northwoods of Wisconsin, relaxing by campfires, swimming (with personal flotation devices — or PFDs, as they’re often called — and with the careful oversight of group leaders, who are all certified in Wilderness Water Safety), and having fun during the last week of the semester.
This semester, the Exploration Week groups are backpacking in the Porcupine Mountain Wilderness in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan, backpacking the North Country Trail in Northern Wisconsin, and canoeing in the Sylvania Wilderness of the Ottowa National Forest, also in the U.P.
We will share some of the stories and adventures of Exploration Week when the students return to campus on June 6th!
~ Graduate Fellow Laura
Check out the following websites for more information about the places that Conserve School students are exploring this week!
Porcupine Mountain Wilderness: http://porcupinemountains.com/
North Country Trail: http://northcountrytrail.org/
Sylvania Wilderness: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/ottawa/recarea/?recid=12331