Posted by: Phil DeLong | September 18, 2014

Campus Stewardship

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Wednesdays at Conserve School are a bit different from the other days of week. In the morning, students attend the classes that would typically meet in the afternoon, leaving the entire afternoon available for Stewardship class. This core class blends sustainability education, college and career preparation, and service learning. In the first half of the class, Stewardship for Life, students explore topics related to preparations for their futures, including college and potential careers. Typically, the afternoon begins with the entire student body enjoying a presentation from a guest, such as practitioners of environmental and outdoor careers. For instance, we were joined today by Eric Anderson, Wildlife Professor from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, who related his experiences researching carnivores such as bobcats and wolves. You can read about last week’s speakers on the Teacher Page of Rachel Carpenter, Assistant Director of Instruction and Lead Stewardship Teacher. Following the speaker, students break into four cohorts to discuss their reflections on the speaker’s presentation, and to explore topics related to preparing for their futures (today, we spent time preparing for the October 15 PSAT exam).

In the second half of the class, Stewardship in Action, students and staff participate in what we call campus stewardship. Stewardship projects provide opportunities for students to contribute to the operations and well-being of the campus and our community, in the same way that members of a family contribute to the functioning of their family unit. Unlike community service, in which students freely give their time to others in the wider community, stewardship is something that is expected of all of us, and all contribute. Students at the beginning of the semester are placed into eight smaller stewardship groups which, under the guidance of a staff member, focus their efforts on a particular area of campus stewardship. Groups this semester include outdoor gardening, three-season gardening, indoor gardening, kitchen, solo site maintenance, butterflies and bees, habitat improvement, and feeder watch/picture posts. Each group also rotates through the responsibilities of collecting recycling and maintaining the compost system. Over the course of the semester our students, in addition to contributing to community well-being, will enjoy the opportunity to learn, first-hand, important lessons in sustainability. It’s our hope that they’ll leave here as more capable stewards not only of our planet, but of their their personal well-being and futures.

Phil DeLong
Director of Enrollment and Student Support

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