Noland gains environmental skills at Conserve School

Katie Noland, Guest Writer

Conserve School in Land O’Lakes, Wisc., has been my home for the past four months. The school’s mission is to encourage environmental stewardship through outdoor activities and meaningful classroom experiences. Conserve’s strong community consists of 47 students, seven teachers, and administrators. The beautiful campus of 1,200 acres allows for recreational activities such as sledding, tree climbing, mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, skiing and swimming.

During my time at Conserve, I have been given the opportunity to learn about sustainability and environmental activism on a daily basis. After a 7:30 a.m. breakfast, I participate in my elective classes. These range from Spanish to Earth Art.

I chose to take ceramics for the semester, during which I have explored various cultures through their art. We then gather for lunch and announcements as a community. After announcements, we depart to our afternoon classes: History of Wilderness Exploration, Wilderness Voices (English), Applied Ecology, Field Instruction and Sustainable Systems.

Each Wednesday we participate in community service, which ranges from trail building to gardening on campus. There is a wide range of activities to participate in after school. While some students use the time to work on homework, many choose to explore the campus or use the recreation center to work out.

At 6 p.m. we gather again as a community for dinner served family style. Additionally, every three weeks students either work in the kitchen on “dish crew” or set the tables for the week’s meals. I again have free time until 8 p.m., when study hours begin, giving me the opportunity to relax after an eventful day.

I have participated in many incredible activities while attending Conserve. For example, I have been involved in a wolf howling survey, canoed the eight lakes on campus, rock climbed the 50-foot wall in the gym, and repelled down an 80-foot mine shaft at Adventure Mines, an historic mine in northern Michigan.

I am so grateful for the incredible opportunities Conserve has given me. I hope to use the knowledge I have gained to protect the world’s dwindling wilderness, learn to coexist with the natural world, and encourage others to live sustainably.

Senior Katie Noland will return to CMR in January and will graduate with the class of 2011.