Welcome to the Northwoods

It was a busy and exciting morning at Elawa farm where CCL participants met each other and loaded the bus for the 6-hour drive to the North Lakeland Discovery Center — our first stop on our three week journey. The bus ride was lively and CCL participants were talking as if they had known each other their whole lives!

The camaraderie continued  in Waupaca, Wisconsin, where we stopped for lunch. It was here that the participants were assigned to their bandanna groups - blue, purple, and orange, allowing for a more intimate group experience when completing challenges and working together. The participants were thrilled to accept their bandannas and become accustomed to their new groups, and the journey to the Northwoods continued. We arrived at the North Lakeland Discovery Center shortly after 4pm and were greeted warmly by the NLDC staff. The afternoon went by quickly. We played a couple of ice-breakers, including “poison peanut butter pit” where the students had to use teamwork to cross the field without falling in the “peanut butter!” After a tasty homemade dinner of sloppy-joes we set up a camp fire and reflected on our days activities.

We had been introduced to the Land Ethic, a term coined by environmental writer and conservationist Aldo Leopold. In a thoughtful follow-up session to a documentary about Leopold, participants wrote their thoughts about community and the land ethic in their journals. One participant, Alyssa, likened the environment and her interpretation of the land ethic to a symphony in which there are many players, and of which we are also a part. In their reflection of “Thinking Like a Mountain,” an essay written by Aldo Leopold, participants agreed that a more proactive role in environmental conservation and stewardship is required by all people. Joanita shared her reflections, saying that we should be aware of our relationship to the environment and not continue actions that we know are detrimental to the present species. Please ask your student to tell you more about what they think land ethic means when they return!

The rest of the week is sure to be as enriching, as the North Lakeland Discovery Center staff lead us around the Northwoods in all sorts of learning experiences. Tomorrow, we will be canoeing down the Manitowish River and cooking dinner over an open fire. Until then!