~This blog entry is brought to you from the electronic portfolio of CS5 student Samir Nooshabadi. Conserve School electronic portfolios connect student experiences to the school’s 17 learning goals. Samir is from Houghton, Michigan where he attends Houghton High School.~
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” ~Henry David Thoreau
From my home entry page: “One of my major goals for my time in Conserve School is that I can hopefully learn more about ways to help conserve the environment, specifically learning more in depth the workings of renewable and efficient energy systems. I also hope to learn more outdoor skills, especially those that I have little experience in.”
Looking back at my learning goal for the semester I feel that I partially accomplished my learning goals. I really didn’t get to learn about efficient energy systems too much, but I did learn many more skills that I hadn’t considered would help the environment. I also learnt more outdoor skills, most notably canoeing, animal track identification, and tree identification.
As I was trying to achieve my learning goals I learned that there are many opportunities to protect the environment in everyday life. I learned that you don’t have to design some super machine that reduces carbon emissions to help the environment.
Simple things such as raising awareness and having your voice heard can have a lasting impact. The notion that protecting the environment is hard, boring work, was also dispelled when in science class we learned hands-on how to keep a forest healthy through forest thinning, an activity which was exciting and left me wanting to do more. I also learned about the importance of having an open mind. Before I came to Conserve I had little interest in English literature and the fine arts. However, now after reading captivating works in English class and in my own time, I realized that literature is one of the most powerful means of communication. After reading the writings of Henry David Thoreau, most notably the essay “Civil Disobedience” and the thrilling works of Jon Krakauer, specifically Into Thin Air, I realized that literature can be quite satisfying and thrilling.
Over the semester, my learning goal changed quite a bit. After learning that protecting the environment requires you to be very in tune with it, I tried to understand the processes that were occurring around me in nature. I set a goal to be able to identify every tree on campus, without a guide, and I succeeded. I also set an aim to learn how to be minimalistic in my outings in nature, which culminated in me using minimal gear over my solo camping experience, such as not using a tent and bringing minimal food. I also aimed to be able to learn skills so that I could do longer solo camping trips in the future, and I learned some of those over my solo experience. I also tried to observe the natural scenery and beauty that we are currently living in. I learned that there is beauty everywhere in nature, you just have to observe. Too often did I wonder and dream about visiting places out West, when I neglected to realize that there is natural beauty everywhere, even in my backyard.
When I return home I hope to apply the things that I have learned at Conserve to my everyday life. I hope to raise awareness about various environmental issues through public speaking opportunities. I hope to participate in various volunteer organizations that participate in environmental stewardship, such as the Audubon Society or the Student Conservation Association (SCA). In the future I hope to accomplish many things, most notably various outdoor activities and trips. I hope to make a difference in my community regarding the environment. Within the year I hope to accomplish a number of trips, such as a coast-to-coast canoeing trip in the Boundary Waters, a week long solo camping trip in either the Pictured Rocks or Isle Royale, a bike trip to Copper Harbor which would include solo camping, a fly fishing trip, and a trip to Devil’s Lake for rock climbing. I also plan to continue visiting Sylvania often due to its proximity to my home. I hope to be able to bike to many of my trips as well. Besides the trips that I plan to do solo, I hope that I will be able to do many of the trips with the friends that I have made here at Conserve, so that we will always have lasting friendships.
During my semester at Conserve I read multiple stories and novels regarding mountaineering and have become greatly interested in the sport. I have always had an interest in the sport, but my time at Conserve heightened my interest to a new level. I also became interested in rock climbing here as well. Mountaineering and rock climbing are two activities that I have limited experience in. In the remaining years of my high school life, I hope to be able to attend a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) mountaineering course in the North Cascades Mountain Range. I hope that I will be able to attend such an exciting course in the near future.
When I return home from Conserve the first thing that I will probably do is go to my local ski hill. However I will also reflect on my time at Conserve and try and put forth an effort to accomplish the goals that I have set for myself. My time at Conserve has been highlighted with nothing but happy memories, memories that I will cherish forever. The experiences that I have had here, with my new found friends, doing the things that we love, will always remain in my mind. I will also remind myself that since my semester at Conserve is over, this should be a positive. This is a positive since it opens the door for me to apply the skills that I have learnt at Conserve and make a difference in the world. My semester at Conserve, immersed in the forests of Lowenwood, will have a lasting impact on my life, an impact that will hopefully change the world.
~Samir Nooshabadi, Conserve School Semester 5
More pictures of Samir from his semester at Conserve School.