Posted by: Nick Voss | August 20, 2013

CS7 First Day of School!

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After a night of savoring the last day of summer, students made the transition into academic mode sometime between waking up and finishing breakfast Monday morning. Sure enough, after a jam-packed orientation weekend, students shook off their sleepy-faces and were exuberant to jump right in to their classes!

For a single semester program, one would be impressed at the wide array of expertise and resources that converge here on campus. Sure we all knew what classes were offered before arriving on campus, and it all looked nice on paper, but the experience of seeing them up close in person in our beautiful Northwoods setting is truly inspiring.

Caitlin Lemley, Conserve’s new math teacher, got students started on their assessments in ALEKS, which is a web-based computer program that will play a major role in guiding their math learning throughout the semester. With her energy and enthusiasm, Caitlin is sure to inspire students to see math as something welcoming and relevant to everyday life. Kathleen O’Connor, our Spanish teacher and Academic Dean, started class with a listen to the popular Latin musical group Maná, which is well known for their promotion of environmental education. Kathleen also began the class almost exclusively in Spanish, which is sure to increase as the semester goes on. English teacher Jeff Renniceke greeted students with a plethora of items placed on the classroom floor. Similar to Kathleen’s strategy, Jeff pulls students into the daily lesson plan the second they walk into class. In addition to music, Jeff places symbolic items throughout the classroom to create an obstacle they must step over and therefore contemplate. These items serve as a reminder for students to jump in, be creative, cooperate, share, and have fun. Jeff started the semester with an excerpt from Drought by Barry Lopez.  Michael Salat began his history class with a tour of explorers that have greatly influenced society, and Nancy Schwartz held an introductory outdoor tea party based on her Peace Corps experience with the Tuareg people of northern Africa to start her Earth Art class. Finally, in Robert Eady and Andy Milbauer’s environmental science class, students were quickly out measuring tree diameters and observing differences in shape, texture, and bark.

After the school day, students took a deep breath, set their sights on the new challenges that await, and headed outside to reflect in the splendor of  Lowenwood’s lovely 1,200 acres. With a warm August breeze, the siren of cicadas ringing, and a brush of fall colors caressing the tips of the maple trees, this was truly the start of a season of growth.



  1. Thank you for these wonderful blogs and photos and for the extraordinary adventure and community that is Conserve.

    • Thanks for commenting, kind comments motivate our bloggers!

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