Creating a living laboratory - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Creating a living laboratory

Winter is a time when most people want to cuddle up near a fire.  But students at Conserve school are literally plowing through it.  Using nature, no matter what the temperature or weather is the mission of this semester school. 

Skiing, skating, snowshoeing, winter survival and camping, this is how Conserve school in Land O' Lakes uses the outdoors as its living laboratory. 

"Cause in the winter your used to ok I am going from my house to my car to school, winter isn't something you go and spend time outside, its cold and supposedly miserable, so we try and teach them here that no winter is an amazing time of the year and its something to look forward too, so we try and introduce them to all kinds of sports," explains teacher Jess Kavanajh.

Field instructor teacher, Jess, is one of the Graduate students who works at Conserve school.  Growing up in the Northwoods she wants kids to leave her class with a love for winter and safety skills.

"So we hope that they leave field instruction with that kind of comfort level in those skills to initiate some outdoor recreation at their school," she emphasizes. 

Students do more than just play outdoors; it's used for hands-on teaching. 

Michael Salat reads from a book to his class: "That was the way Shackelton wanted it from studying the outcome of past expeditions he believed those that burdened themselves with equipment to meet every contingency had faired much worse then those that sacrificed total preparedness for speed." 

History teacher, Michael Salat, literally reenacts the book "Endurance" by Alfred Lansing, which recounts the 850 mile voyage the crew took across the Antarctic. Students use a nearby frozen lake to pull boats and goods, much like the pioneers did. 

"It's really nice to have classes where outdoor education is really a part of it, it is very integrated and so its just a very different learning environment and I think it really does add to our high school experience I think its really important to have this interdisciplinary opportunity," says Hannah Barg, a student this semester. 

Embracing the outdoors and the hands on experience is just part of it.  But building a close knit community of friends and teachers is what makes living away from home for a semester all worth it. 

"You have those relationships with your teachers where its not like they are sitting up behind the desk and you just hear the lectures, its more of a relationship and again you are with the kids all the time we always hang out all the time," explains student Sam Neubauer.  

For more information on the school click here.

Online Reporter: Kristen Connolly, Land O'Lakes

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