Conserve School staff members are making good use of their training time in between semesters. This past week Education Coordinator Jennifer Kobylecky and Education Assistant Anna Hawley from the Aldo Leopold Foundation came to Conserve School to provide Land Ethic Leaders training to our staff. Fran McReynolds, Coordinator for the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point graduate fellowship program at Conserve School, assisted Jennifer and Anna in leading the training.
The training began on Tuesday, January 22, with a showing of the movie Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time, which was recently awarded an Emmy for Best Historical Documentary by the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Over the next few days, staff members examined the meaning of the term “land ethic” while experimenting with a variety of group facilitation techniques introduced by the trainers.
The training included a group hike around Little Donahue Lake one morning and a quiet observation session outdoors another morning — all in below-zero weather. Conserve School staff members proved themselves, as always, to be an exceptionally hardy and cheerful bunch, ready for an outdoor adventure regardless of the season. Sitting in the snow for twenty minutes at 20 degrees below zero is a wonderful opportunity to listen to winter birdsong, to notice the winter sunlight and shadows, and to observe tracks and scat on the snow — not to mention a great chance to explore whether or not your winter boots truly live up to their advertising.
Conserve School devotes a remarkably generous amount of time and resources to ongoing staff training. We set aside two weeks in the fall, three weeks in January, and one week at the end of the year for professional development, ensuring that our staff members benefit from a steady stream of new ideas and stay up-to-date on the constant changes in the world of education.
In our end-of-semester surveys, students never fail to comment on the warm community feeling at Conserve School. Professional development programs like the Land Ethic Leaders training, which bring staff members together for learning, discussion, and fun, are valuable not only for expanding staff members’ skills; they also play an important role in building the strong and healthy sense of community that our students enjoy.
– Mary Anna Thornton, Assistant Head of School
A new group of Land Ethic Leaders
Art Teacher Nancy Schwartz makes a point.
History Teacher Michael Salat and Science and Art Teacher Robert Eady discuss a reading.
Trainer Jennifer Kobylecky from the Aldo Leopold Foundation
Cathy and Nancy listen as Jean shares her thoughts with the group.
Trainer Anna Hawley uses a prop — a brain cell — to make a point.
Graduate Fellow Jaime Bunting speaks as Director of Outdoor Programs and Residential Life Cathy Palmer listens.
Graduate Fellow Leanna Jackan reads her reflections to the group.
Staff members start off on the silent observation hike.
Cathy makes a point as Math Teacher Arjen Krijgsman listens.
A view of Little Donahue Lake during the observation hike
Trainer Jen Kobylecky addresses the group.
More views from the hike …
Staff members pick favorite quotes during a training exercise.
The whole group circles up in the community room.
Graduate Fellow Rebecca Deatsman records her observations.
Many hands make light work.
Trainer Anna Hawley records the groups’ thoughts.
For a community service activity, Stewardship Coordinator Jean Haack shows the rest of the staff how to clean and prep frames for our hives.
Graduate Fellow Rob Stuart sits quietly on the shore of Little Donahue during a solitary observation session.
Art Teacher Nancy Schwartz and Graduate Fellows Dylan Fernandez and Greg Handley listen intently to a colleague.
It was so cold that the snow squeaked and crunched.
Director of Admissions Phil DeLong shares with the group
Graduate Fellow Mandy Lundmark smiles as she listens to another staff member describe a “take-away” from the training.
A staff member couldn’t resist making a snow angel on the fluffy new snow.
Props are waiting on the floor in preparation for the closing activity.
Staff members spread out so they could hear the small sounds of the winter forest.
Trainers Jennifer Kobylecky and Anna Hawley and Assistant Head of School Mary Anna Thornton touch base during a break in the training.
A view of the Lownestine Academic Building from the other side of the lake
Greg makes a point.
Props serve as discussion prompts for the closing activity.
Cathy facilitates a discussion.
Trainer Jen Kobylecky at the whiteboard.
History Teacher Michael Salat watches the demonstration.
Phil DeLong, Director of Residential Life and Admissions, enjoys the view.
Staff members participate in a discussion.
Cathy shares during the closing activity.
Grad Fellow Program Coordinator Fran McReynolds records group contributions at the whiteboard.
Street signs at Conserve School
The group listens to Jean’s instructions.
Working and chatting during the community service activity proved to be a lot of fun.