Waterfalls, Mountaintops, and Starry Skies

There are truly no words to describe the aesthetic beauty that was seen by the students today. Here’s our attempt:

Following breakfast, the students delved into the world of habitats for species such as loons, ospreys, monarch butterflies, and bats to name a few. This was especially important for Teagan, Cat, Paula, and Jonny who were each assigned one of those species to learn about during their experience in the Northwoods. Students were able to connect with the species by building loon nests, painting bat houses, making a butterfly garden for monarch butterflies, and creating a shelter for rodents in the forest.

Immediately following lunch, students embarked on a journey that will remain with them for a long time. We went to Yondota Falls just across the Michigan Border and up Wolf Mountain just north of the falls. Walking adjacent to the Presque Isle River, students experienced first-hand the beauty that is a water fall and its unique ecological characteristics. Many students had not seen a waterfall before, or sat so close as to touch the white water flowing through their hands.

Students hiked 1800 feet above sea level to the summit of Wolf Mountain, higher than even the highest roller coaster they have ridden as Six Flags! This made for an exciting journey as students looked over the valley, mostly in awe of the vast forests below their eyes. Hanging to the side of the mountain (not literally!), students reflected in their journals.

As if our day wasn’t action packed enough, we spent our night at Kovac Planetarium to learn about the night sky in Frank Kovac’s home-made visualization center. That’s right. Frank built a moving planetarium from scratch! A planetarium is a 3-D representation of the stars in the sky, and this one was shaped like a huge dome that we sat under to view the night sky. Kovac Planetarium is receiving a lot of media attention, including an issue in Popular Mechanics in September. It was also a very special experience for the students because every star that can be seen in the night sky was hand-painted onto the planetarium screen using glow-in-the-dark paint. Frank made his imagination come true through hard work and patience.  He was truly inspiring for our students, and we trust that they will similarly use their passion for the environment to create a stewardship project in their communities.