Today marks the one week countdown to the greatest (or at least my personal favorite) American holiday –Thanksgiving! Conserve School students will be leaving the Lowenwood campus this Friday and Saturday to travel home to see friends and family for a week of vacation from CS7. Many of our students will be reunited with family members in the Midwest, and many more will be visiting the homes and families of friends they’ve made at Conserve School, in lieu of flying across the country and back for this short break from school. Nevertheless, since all of our students will be away for Thanksgiving, we decided to celebrate the harvest season and give thanks together as a community a week early.
Harvest Fest is an annual, all-day event at Conserve School. In fact, this year the festivities started the night before with an open mic night in the Lowenstine Academic Building. Students and staff alike shared poems, songs, and raps based on the themes of gratitude, harvest, and transition between seasons. Many other students volunteered their after school free time to help Graduate Fellows assemble the wooden dance floor for Wednesday night’s activities.
By the time the sun came up over the Northwoods on Wednesday morning, Harvest Fest activities had already resumed as Graduate Fellow Bethany Ricks led a reflective sunrise hike around the campus. Breakfast was followed by a morning of workshop activities for our students. Staff put on a wide variety of seminars on topics from cider pressing, to photography, to salve making with our campus-harvested beeswax. The afternoon was then spent in small, staff-led cooking groups as the entire community gave a hand in preparing the Harvest Fest feast. Student cook teams baked bread, made green-bean casserole, even cooked Brussels sprouts (I know, even Brussels sprouts!), and the resulting meal was both delicious and beautiful.
Students and staff got gussied up for the feast and were then looking fancy for the post-meal contra dance hosted in the Lowenstine Academic Building. The night ended with our student community dancing on the very floor they worked to build the night before, with bellies filled with food they themselves cooked with love, and their heads packed with fresh words of gratitude and wisdom from throughout the community. It was a festival to remember nearing the end of a semester to remember here at Conserve School. And though we have nearly a month left to go in CS7, let me say on behalf of the staff at Conserve School, we’re very thankful, every day, for our inspiring students.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!