Posted by: Stefan Anderson | January 4, 2014

Solos – Henry Henson



~This blog entry is brought to you from the electronic portfolio of CS7 student Henry Henson. Conserve School electronic portfolios connect student experiences to the school’s learning goals. Henry is from Arden Hills, Minnesota where he attends Mounds View High School .~


Conserve School Learning Goal: Demonstrates the observational and reflective skills necessary to the development of a meaningful and lasting sense of place.

This is a picture of the morning sunlight illuminating the clouds behind the trees of our beautiful forests.

This is a picture of the morning sunlight illuminating the clouds behind the trees of our beautiful forests.

During this past week [October 16 – 18] all of the CS7 students got to have an amazing experience on solos. I was very fortunate to camp out in my phenology spot. I particularly appreciated this opportunity because I really got to know this plot of land more intimately. I got to spend two days out in that area, seeing all there was to observe. While I was out there I was able to explore more thoroughly than I had before, and also see this area at different times of day. Up until this point, I had not watched the sunrise or sunset at my phenology spot. (It is far away from the inner loop, and we are not allowed to venture out there while it is dark.) With so much time available, I was able to journal more reflectively and in depth than I normally do. Solos provided the chance for me to reflect on my time here and develop a lasting connection with this place. During solos I got the opportunity to observe Lowenwood slowly. I viewed a whole narrative or film instead of just a snapshot. I was able to see a change throughout the day as well as through the seasons. This helped me develop a close association with the place because I now understand the wildlife that calls this place home. I developed a relationship with the chipmunk in the hollow woodpecker tree, the red squirrel in the white pine, the chickadees in the hemlocks, sphagnum on the water, lichen on the face of trees, moss on the rotten logs, deer behind the thicket, and all other organisms that live here.

Throughout this experience, I learned many things. Not only did I learn about my surroundings, but I learned about myself. I had a lot of time to reflect on  my thoughts and emotions that I do not normally focus on. I am a person that enjoys a full plate of things to do. I move from one task to the next; not to often do I take time to slow down and just think or reminisce. Solos was a time where I had to slow down to a near halt, with nothing to do but think. I reflected on much more than I would have thought possible. This time to think revealed many more aspects of my life than are usually at the forefront of my mind.

This experience stood out in my mind because of terrifying intensity of stillness and silence. This was a big change from the whine of hustle and bustle that usually occurs. I was truly alone, and it was peaceful. It was not only a chance to test our self reliance with back country skills, but also with finding ways to occupy ourselves while we were alone. From start to finish, we had to entertain ourselves and in the process gain a new perspective on life.

~Henry Henson, Conserve School Semester 7

More photos from Henry’s semester at Conserve School

Conserve School provides a semester-long immersion for high school students in environmental studies and outdoor activities that deepens their love of nature, reinforces their commitment to conservation, and equips them to take meaningful action as environmental stewards. Thanks to the generosity of Conserve School’s friends and its founder James Lowenstine all accepted students receive significant scholarship support.


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