Posted by: dscaffidi | November 4, 2013

Stewardship Wednesdays

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If you happened to visit Conserve School on a Wednesday afternoon, you would likely catch a glimpse of our students engaged in a class block that we call Stewardship. You would see students involved in career development activities with their “Gather, Grow, Go” group, gathered in the Community Room engaged with a guest speaker, or out and about on campus, working with their Stewardship in Action groups.

As part of Stewardship, professionals from environmentally-focused careers, as well as college representatives, are invited to speak to the students about what their jobs are like, what kind of education and experience is required, why they chose the field they work in, and what they like about their work. Many guest speakers this semester have also informed students about local issues, and engaged students in discussion about how their work contributes to solving social and environmental problems. These weekly sessions have indeed been inspirational.

On Wednesday, October 9th, students began the Stewardship block with their Gather, Grow, Go group preparing for the PSAT. A jeopardy-style game offered tips on how to be successful, and gave the students a bit of practice with actual test questions from previous years.

Our guest speaker that Wednesday was Peter David, a wildlife biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC). Peter’s primary emphasis is on manoomin (wild rice) and ma’iingan (wolves). Students learned about the ecological and cultural histories of wild rice and wolf management, and Peter’s role within the organization. The wolf debate is especially relevant today, as the season opener of the public wolf hunt in Wisconsin began less than a week after our guest’s visit. Peter discussed both sides of the wolf hunt issue, introducing students to the important yet often underrepresented perspective of the tribes. Students asked many great questions, including an inquiry into past and present cultural racism, how Peter’s work with the tribes has influenced him as a biologist, GLIFWC’s involvement with other organizations, and opportunities for high school students to gain experience in wildlife biology. Many students lingered after Peter’s talk to ask him more questions, before heading out to work on one of the nine Stewardship in Action projects. For more information on the current projects students are involved in, check out this slideshow from Family Weekend.

On Wednesday, October 23rd, after a one-week break from Stewardship due to student solos, students began the Stewardship block learning about strategies for writing resumes and cover letters, and then practiced describing their own volunteer and work experiences in resume format. Our guest speaker was Keri Willever, an Admissions Officer from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. Students were excited to learn about a college that, similar to Conserve School, values and places emphasis not only on academics, but on experiential learning and community as well. Keri described the foundation that supports the Warren Wilson experience as a triad of academics, work, and service. Students crowded around Keri to ask more questions a before heading out to work with their Stewardship in Action groups. This past Stewardship Wednesday was also the bi-annual blood drive. Several students chose to give back to the community by donating blood, all of which stays here in the Northwoods to help those in need.  The rest of us slipped into snow boots, hats, and gloves, and headed outside. With the arrival of snow, the three season gardening crew, along with the harvesting crew, happily became four season gardeners.

Check back in a couple of weeks for more Stewardship updates!

~ Donelle Scaffidi, Graduate Fellow


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