~This blog entry is brought to you from the electronic portfolio of CS7 student Katelynn Marohl. Conserve School electronic portfolios connect student experiences to the school’s learning goals. Katelynn is from Delafield, Wisconsin where she attends KM Perform, a charter school for arts and performance.~
Today is Thursday, December 12, 2013. In exactly a week we will be packing up our things and cleaning out our rooms…
As we snowshoed back from Lake Elaine today I thought about what I would say in this entry. To me it appeared that everyone around me was living in the moment, plowing up the path back toward the LAB. Although I was thinking quite deeply inside, on the outside I was laughing. Riley, who was in front of me, kept reaching back and hitting the snow laden boughs of the younger Balsam Firs, sending powdery snow into my and Steve’s faces. I ducked and Steve exclaimed, “You’re breaking the pretty!” I realized that Steve was more than right. All around us the evergreens were covered with flawless blankets of snow, that contrasted hugely with the dark green of the needles on the trees. The sun shown brightly and the snow on the ground sparkled continuously, unperturbed by our trespassing snowshoes. For the rest of the hike I was silent, in complete awe of the beautiful place that I was in.
I can say now, that I have been enlightened by this place and that I greatly underestimated what its impact would be on my life. All of the teachers, staff, guest speakers, and my peers have shown me so much in an amount of time that has been impossibly short. I can’t believe how much more informed about the world and current events I am now that I came here. Not to mention how much more opinionated I’ve become. My semester at Conserve School came at the perfect time in my life. I was slowly becoming less and less motivated, I just wanted my high school career to be over to wanted to move on and grow up. Its different now, I realize how much I didn’t know and how much I haven’t done. But also, how much I can still do and how much more time I have that I can use instead of waste. Coming here gave me the chance to see my life differently, looking at it now it isn’t so overwhelming. My perspective on everything has become more intelligent and more analytical in the way that allows me to look for solutions instead of just seeing the problem. Starting over is something I’ve come to value very much.
As much as the people here have changed my view point so has the campus. Although I did do a lot of exploring, I wish I would have done more. There is so much to see here and so much that I was fascinated by. There were a few days in a row that I just went to my Phenology Spot and sat and watched everything, observing and looking for things that I’d never seen before. There have been a million times in the last few months, no matter where I was: in the classroom looking out the window, in the gathering space, out on a trail, in Sylvania or at the Pictured Rocks, that I have just had to stop and let myself view and appreciate how exceptionally beautiful the world can be. Before the snow fell I used to watch the water level in the bog rise and fall, notice how the moss would brighten, how the leaves slowly changed, the sunrise and the cycle of the moon. I hadn’t really acknowledge how detached I’d become from the environment over the last year or two. Thanks to my coming here that is going to be much different from here on out.
I hadn’t ever actually thought about being an environmental steward. Now, I know that I already am one. I’ve mentioned the things that I will do in the future in my E-Portfolio entries before, but now I suppose I can explain further. there are many things that I won’t be able to tolerate at home that I used to endure without complaint. I hope to help my family not waste so much food and eat better as well as get more exercise. Along with that I hope to get all of the members of my family outside a whole lot more. I want to become more a part of the family. I want to make use of my time, I’ll find an opportunity somewhere, they’re everywhere. While I’ve been gone my Mentor at my sending school has changed, and I will be able to start from the beginning again when I get back. Instead of pursuing fiction writing that I’d been working on, coming here helped me to realize that that is the wrong direction for me to go. My goal going home, academically, is to change my focus to non fiction, and instead of writing a novel to write an anthology of essays and poetry.
After I graduate in 2015, I hope to perhaps spend the summer in Argentina, and then when I come home I plan to start college at the University of Washington County and then from there perhaps attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison. One other thing that Conserve gave me was space away from the immediacy of my family and school lives. I understand what I want now. I have always wanted to have a farm, and learning about Polyculture in Ecology only strengthened that dream for me. I know that is how I’ll live some day, but I also want to do something else. Whatever I study in the future, I know that it will fall under the vast category of Environmental Studies. Somewhere in there maybe I’ll travel more too, join the Peace Corps and make even more difference as an Environmental Steward.
Immediately after going home there are four things that I am going to maintain: the amount of time that I am outdoors, my academic level, physical and mental health, my goals, and staying informed. On top of that, as I mentioned before, I want influence the people closest to me, especially my family.
More than anything, my perspective really is what changed about me. It went from ‘why am I stuck here’ to ‘let’s do this’. I have met amazing people, learned huge amounts, increased my outdoor skill levels and experience, fell in love with Lowenwood, connected with over 61 people and found myself.
“It was more than just a sunrise. It seemed to flood into their souls, rekindling the life within them. They watched the growing light quenching the wild, dark misery of the night that now, at last, was over.” ~Alfred Lansing, Endurance
Conserve School was my sunrise.
Katelynn Marohl, Conserve School Semester 7
More photos from Katelynn’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.