~This blog entry is brought to you from the electronic portfolio of CS7 student Charlie Hooghkirk. Conserve School electronic portfolios connect student experiences to the school’s learning goals. Charlie is from Duluth, Minnesota where he attends the Marshall School.~
My Love for Lowenwood
Conserve School Learning Goal: After completing a semester at Conserve School, a student has come to know Lowenwood, has developed gratitude for this gift from James R. Lowenstine, and, through their deepening love of this place, has become inspired to be a caretaker of the natural world.
On the first couple of days at Conserve School, we were given a tour of campus. We were shown several trails, and the main features of the main loop. One place that we also went was to James and Elaine Lowenstines’ graves. That was an important point on the tour and in my Conserve School experience because it was the first time someone explained to me how much James loved this place. This touched me and made me realize that by the time I left, I will have fallen in love with Lowenwood just as much as James did.
As we near the end of the semester, I think I was correct in that premonition. I truly have fallen in love with Lowenwood: its forests, trails, and people. This has made me appreciate what Lowenstine left for use even more. Of course this didn’t happen overnight. Many activities and classes have led to this. Some of them were canoeing in the voyager canoe and splitting wood during history class, climbing a tree and reading a short passage in English class, and starting a fire in Field Instruction. Each of these activities was a lot of fun for me and looking back through many of the photos I became nostalgic.
All of these activities I had done before at home countless times, but here at Conserve they somehow felt new. At home I chopped wood for my fire pit, went canoeing at my cabin, built fires on the beach, and often ended up in a tree. But here it was different. Doing these activities in a place that was much more remote than my home felt invigorating. Doing these activities gave me the idea and opportunity to do it more often in the semester (obviously not climbing trees and splitting wood so much). With fire building, I used it to build fires in the commons and to try building fires over solos. With canoeing I ended up going many times on Big Donahue Lake. These and countless other experiences all over the campus made me fall in love with the place.
The realization that these woods were very special also sparked another. I realized that I was given an extremely amazing opportunity to come to Conserve School. And more importantly that James Lowenstine was to thank for this. If it wasn’t for him the school would not exist.
These experiences that I have had in Lowenwood are truly priceless to me, and I want other people to be able to have them too. That’s why when I return to my hometown I hope to help provide these experiences by protecting the place where they should happen: our natural environment. I have many hopes on how to do this and I have high hopes that they will be met with great success.
Charlie Hooghkirk, Conserve School Semester 7
More photos from Charlie’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.