Posted by: csdailyblog | December 11, 2012




~This blog entry is brought to you from the electronic portfolio of CS5 student Aaron Yates. Conserve School electronic portfolios connect student experiences to the school’s 17 learning goals. Aaron is from Columbus, North Carolina where he is homeschooled.~

Conserve School Learning Goal 11: Demonstrates the inquiry-based, observational and reflective skills necessary to the development of an on-going sense of place.

Here at Conserve we revolve around community and learning. This is a community that is formed of like minded people from all over the continent with the same ideas and passions. We all have become very close over the semester and are almost like a family. Best friends have been made; friendships that will last a life time have been forged. We have laughed, learned, played, cried, and grown together. There is a feeling of acceptance and understanding here that is very rarely found in a high school setting. How could one not feel and on-going sense of place here from just the people alone? It will be very hard to leave all of this.

Little Donahue Lake

Little Donahue Lake

Personally, I have also developed a special sense of place with the 1200 acres of Lowenwood. During the start of the semester I would go for long walks (and still do) and find many places that seemed unique. I slowly got to know the flora, fauna, and geography and am still getting to know it, but now I have the area mapped out pretty well in my mind and know many places that I go to when I need to be alone, write, reflect, or just be there for the sake of being there. In this way I have developed a very personal and special connection with this place. I will be very sad to leave this beautiful land that I have come to love so much.

After Community Meeting

After Community Meeting

There are so many ways to establish a sense of belonging in a place, both socially and environmentally are two that I feel are the most prominent for me at Conserve. Developing a sense of place at Conserve socially comes fairly quick since we are all, as I said before, living together in a community centered around similar thoughts and beliefs. You get to know the people here, fellow students as well as teachers and staff, fairly well, some more than other. There are people who you spend a lot of time with as well as people who you only talk with occasionally. It really is interesting how social structure forms and shifts as the semester progresses. I am a people watcher, I like to watch how people interact, what groups are formed, what peoples body language is saying etc. It is fascinating what can be learned just from observing. I have made many good friends and have gotten to know a lot of the people here fairly well, and I feel like I have established a comfortable sense of place in the social web at Conserve.

When I say “establish a sense of place environmentally,” I am referring to a close connection with the environment we are learning in. I have become so attached to this campus and its surrounding that I feel like it is my home and I have been living here a lot longer than three months. Which is not what I was expecting before the semester started; I was doubtful that I would become comfortable living here. I have been in love with the North Woods for many years (even though I live in North Carolina), so I knew that I would become very attached with that aspect, but I didn’t think that I would have adjusted to the new way of living as well as I have. I admit that it is difficult at times to be around people all the time and have a constant schedule, but then the trails and lakes are my counselors where I can go to relax and recuperate every day. This is why Conserve is an amazing learning experience for me, and I am so grateful to have chance to be here.

~Aaron Yates, Conserve School Semester 5



  1. As a former student of CS I am so happy to hear you say these things, and put down to words in such a great way. Congratulations on your successful semester and know that Lowenwood is always home to those that feel as you do. Enjoy what time you have left, and make sure to fit in a few more sunrises!

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