~This blog entry is brought to you from the electronic portfolio of CS6 student Sarah Tonner. Conserve School electronic portfolios connect student experiences to the school’s 17 learning goals. Kate is from Ann Arbor, Michigan where she attends Community High School.~
When I first arrived at Conserve, I had some idea of what to expect. I expected to learn more about research, to meet new environmentally-minded people, and to learn about activism and how to express my commitment to the environment.
What I didn’t expect was just how much I would grow in those ways, exceeding the goals that I had set for myself. Conserve School is geared exactly toward those goals: I learned about many, many experiments, scientists, and stations where groundbreaking, sometimes strange, science is occurring; everyone attending is dedicated to the environment, whether for recreation or education; and the second half of English is about sharing your own voice for the wilderness. This knowledge will aid me in many parts of life. I have learned how to speak in front of a crowd without (much) stage fright;
I have learned about potential careers and tentatively decided on a major to shoot for (Biological Sciences and a minor in Atmospheric Sciences); and I have a group of 62 smart, talented friends to connect with should I ever need an engineer (Emma B), geologist (Dana), ethnobotanist (Fritz), or any number of other experts. I learned a host of new skills, including archery, snowshoeing, tracking, and backpacking, all of which I will enjoy doing in the future. Along the way, I grew up. I realize that I’ve changed, that I’ve learned more and become more broad-based and adaptable. I overcame several of my fears, and I figured out how to budget my time for fun and homework. There was plenty of time to meditate and calm the stream of my inner consciousness, to absorb the memories of all that was happening, and to reflect on my place in the world. I reached my goal of learning about some topics—and I reached much deeper and learned about myself.
I will carry these reflections with me for the rest of my life, drawing on the peaceful state that I discovered how to enter while in the beautiful woods here. They will guide me through tough times, always reminding me of who I am and how I define myself. I know that I’ll have an active life, using the skills that I learned at Conserve School to fight for environmental issues, research biological puzzles, and enjoy the outdoor world. I will set myself to changing the world and making a difference, because no matter how minute it may seem, I will have made my voice heard in the world and helped guide it to a better future.
My name is Sarah Toner. This is what I will do. Thank you, Conserve School, for guiding me on life’s great expedition.
Photos from Sarah’s semester at Conserve School.
Visit the Conserve School website to learn more about this unique semester school in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.