~This blog entry is brought to you from the electronic portfolio of CS8 student Mairead Howley. Conserve School electronic portfolios connect student experiences to the school’s learning goals. Mairead is from Minneapolis, Minnesota where she attends South High School.~
Conserve School Learning Goal: After successfully completing a Conserve School semester, a student demonstrates a commitment and responsibility to community, and is inspired to take part in service to others; and has a hopeful and realistic outlook, including a personal vision for a better future.
The imagination creates places more amazing and awesome than could ever exist in the physical world. Imagination is a veil through which we see the world and its possibilities; it takes raw information and filters it, creating something entirely knew to each different brain. A story, then, is a set of twice interpreted data- first when the teller witnesses something and creates their own story, and a second time when the listener re-imagines the tale. On Friday, April 26, we had the unique pleasure of story time, a web of words enjoyed from infancy through old age. Lori Schnieder and Julie Buckles came in to tell us about the adventures they have been on, and to encourage us to find the courage to set out on our own voyages.
Julie travelled through Canada with her husband for their one year long honeymoon. They paddled and portaged the vast lakes and rivers of the north, heading into winter and the Arctic Circle. Originally, the plan was to winter in a small Canadian town and then continue north towards the arctic circle when spring arrived, following the routes of the voyageurs. Their trip was cut short when Charlie’s father fell ill, and so the second part of the journey to the Arctic Circle never began. Julie talked about how difficult it was to accept that their trip consisted of the journey rather than the destination, but that writing about the trip had helped her to remember all the wonderful moments of the journey. It was inspiring to hear tales of the beauty and challenges of the north from a woman who had never set foot in a canoe before she decided to head out into the wilderness with her husband, and to hear how she coped with the physical and mental challenges of the wilderness.
Lori Schnieder traveled to the highest peaks of the world on a wave of willpower and belief in her dreams. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she became determined to achieve her lifelong goal of climbing mountains. Since then, she has summited the highest peak on each of the seven continents, most recently reaching the summit of Mount Everest. Lori talked about her personal determination to find peace in her mind by conquering her fears of what her body could no longer necessarily do. Her life is now the life of her dreams because she found the courage to take her destiny into her hands.
These women have not only found their own unique place in the world, they have found ways to share their lives with others. Julie’s book, Paddling to Winter, chronicles the story of her journey north. Lori has shared her dreams with many people through her organization, Empowerment Through Adventure. She especially looks to help inspire other MS patients to overcome their physical limitations and work to achieve the impossible. Both women seized their fates and found a way to create their ideal future. By finding happiness within themselves, they are able to inspire and lead many others.
I was particularly excited to meet these two amazing women because they are female explorers. We study a lot of ‘heroic’ men and their adventures into the wilderness, but there is a severe lack of female explorers in history. This semester, we have studied exclusively male explorers who have been put on pedestals by history and the perspective from which we have looked at them. It was powerful to talk to two amazing women explorers have overcome gender barriers in the wilderness. Someday, perhaps, I will find my own wilderness to explore!
~Mairead Howley, Conserve School Semester 8
A few photos from Mairead’s time 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.