~This blog entry is brought to you from the electronic portfolio of CS5 student Eleanor Burck. Conserve School electronic portfolios connect student experiences to the school’s 17 learning goals. Ellie is from Galien, Michigan where she is homeschooled.~
“I’ve come to hone my skills when interacting with earth, to feel closer to our biotic and abiotic world we’re so connected with, learn about the problems we’re causing and to help learn to solve those problems. I’ve come to learn and have fun with new people from around the world as well as exploring the person I am inside.” (from Ellie’s first e-portfolio entry)
I remember a night, the second day into Conserve School as clear as if it has happened seconds ago. I remember all of us circled around up on the sledding hill and gazing up at the life of the starry sky. We were close, shoulder to shoulder and learning about ourselves. Shivering from the cold, using our voices and directing hopeful eyes up to the sky, we saw the northern lights and I can’t help but think about the thoughts whirring through my mind then. I had my goals, but I had an open mind as vast as the sky we were exploring then. I had my voice, but I had my ears to listen to others. I had a complete openness, fresh as the air we’d been breathing, and that’s what I love about that moment. It was pure, like newly fallen snow, and it was bringing about a change I have enjoyed so much.
I have resigned myself to the influence of Conserve School, not that it was a hard thing. I related Conserve School to the moon at the beginning of this semester; it was a mysterious place, an unknown that I climbed a tree to see and experience its light and mood. I have now not just seen this place; I call this place home and have lived it, experienced it, and breathed it. I have swayed in the northern winds with the kingly white pines and wise old hemlocks, I have swum in the cool waters that the loons dove through in the summer, I have risen with the sun and set with the moon, I have breathed in the clean, crisp air that’s like a fresh fall apple and, most importantly, I have been here.
To Jeff, Andy, Michael, Robert and Nancy I can’t even thank you enough for how much you have taught me and how you showed me that we can incorporate nature and the wilderness into our everyday life. To the grad fellows who are so organized and put a nice spice into my life, to the dogs that romp the campus and always enjoy a good wrestle or pet fest, to the trails I’ve run and walked on an extreme amount of times — I am so happy to have had all of you in my life. To the people of Conserve School who are beautiful and awe-inspiring, I feel extremely grateful to have met everyone I have here and to have grown friendships that are strong. To this magnificent land, this land brimming and overflowing with wild and mystery, I will remember you forever. The bogs and their early morning mist, the old growth, dark forests and the lakes — I will miss you dearly. The way the surrounding wilderness has taught me, with its wise lessons and beauty, it has been amazing and eye opening. Not just people teach, and that’s what snatches my breath away.
“Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” ~Salvador Dali
Coming to Conserve School I find myself not severely crushed and devastated about leaving, but I realize I am excited about what will come after Conserve School. Conserve has sewn a colorful flag, a flag that will forever be flying in my mind. My goals have been reached and have been far surpassed. I feel like my feet have been reconnected to this earth I walk on, it has anchored me, but then again it has set sail to dreams and broadened my horizon. Throughout this whole semester I have found so many new things that have sparked fires within me, fires that I intend to kindle for the rest of life. I want to now backpack everywhere, I want to reduce and reuse and not just recycle, I want to ace my AP Environmental Science exam in May, I want to create Andy Goldsworthy art every place I visit, I want to monitor the monarch migrations with a crazy fervor, I want to be sustainable, use less energy and notify others about it and I want all these things, but the great thing is, I will do them. Conserve has had such a serious impact on me that these things are not just wishes, but things that I most definitely will follow through with. A new goal I have is to forever be open to new things, to embrace new situations with open arms and just live in them. Conserve School will always be with me, and I know that the knowledge that I’ve learned here will stick with me as well. I hope to impact the world in an even better way that Conserve School has, to spread the environmental awareness it has planted within me and to implement it as well as teach others about it.
“Show, don’t tell.” ~Mark Twain
This short quote sums it up for me. As much as words are great, and as much as they teach, the actions to what we say are stronger. I want to help this world and build goals for myself but then implement them. Most of all, I want to give back to the world what Conserve School has graciously given to me.
~Ellie Burck, Conserve School Semester 5
More photos of Ellie from her semester at Conserve School.