~This blog entry is brought to you from the electronic portfolio of CS5 student Kasey Day. Conserve School electronic portfolios connect student experiences to the school’s 17 learning goals. Kasey is from Ashland, Wisconsin where she attends Ashland High School.~
From spending a semester at Conserve, I can’t imagine life at home; sitting in my school counting ceiling tiles because there are no windows to look out, not being able to hang out with friends 24/7, not being able to go for walks at 11 at night, or having late night life chats/ study parties with friends. Basically, Conserve is like a completely different reality. I’ve learned so much, and had so many different experiences at Conserve, that I don’t even know how to describe my semester here.
Throughout the semester I learned a lot about forestry, and the environment in general. From a semester at Conserve School I now know how to measure the diameter of a tree, how to tell the history of forest just by looking at the trees, and how to effectively help stop global warming. I also now understand risk, types of lakes, the importance of vaccines, and how acid rain and smog work. Along with a general idea of how many chemicals aren’t consider hazardous that should be, how water treatment works, the danger of mountain top removal and hydraulic fracturing, and how important the DNR is. Overall, I don’t think I ever would’ve learned about any of this if I hadn’t done a semester at Conserve.
One of the biggest things I think I got out of Conserve is friendship. At home I have a lot of friends, but none of them compare to my friends at Conserve. At home you hang out with your friends on school days until 9, if you’re lucky (at least for me), and on weekends, but that’s pretty much it. Whereas at Conserve you have Zumba parties, sleep in “cribs” made of two arm chairs, muffle laughs with pillows at one in the morning because you drank too much coffee, and suck at water coloring. Stalk people pretending to be raptors, have workout parties, go star gazing, climb trees, talk about anything, get in trouble, hide in showers, scare each other, sprint through the woods in the dark to make curfew, tree parachute, play pool, parkour, make anti-jokes, and of course, make Mean Girls references. None of which that will be half as fun with friends at home.
Besides friends and classes, the one thing I’m going to miss the most about Conserve is the silence. In the summer you can go for runs, and not see a single car. At home I don’t have this luxury no matter where I go. I used to think that this was a comfort, that it meant that I was safe because there was always someone nearby if you heard a car, but now it’s an annoyance to me, and a false sense of security. All of the city lights also are an annoyance. Here on campus there are lights for safety reasons, but you can still clearly see the stars easily. At home, I don’t have that. I used to think that people were full of it when they complained about how you can’t see the stars in cities, but I completely understand what they meant now. You can see stars in cities, but it’s not nearly the same as laying in the dark gazing at the stars scattered everywhere, them being the only light. To me, there’s also absolutely nothing better than lying in the snow surrounded in darkness gazing at the luminous stars listening to the utter stillness of everything. The solitude of silence and the openness of the sky are what I will miss the most about Conserve.
~Kasey Day, Conserve School Semester 5
More photos of Kasey from her semester at Conserve School.