It’s a misty, humid evening here on Chewonki neck. A light rain fell most of the day, inviting all of us to grab cups of tea while walking around campus in rubber boots and raingear. This morning, a moose was spotted jogging through campus before darting back into the woods, reminding most of us that we are, indeed, somewhere different!
Tomorrow marks an important crossroads for semester 47, as we will have finished our first three weeks of class before embarking on our five-day wilderness trips Monday. This week has been filled with preparations for our fall trips, and there’s a sense of excitement in the air on the part of students and faculty. You see, just last week they had to decide between five exciting wilderness trips. Led by Chewonki wilderness trip leaders and our semester school faculty, students will be taking off on Monday to diverse wildareas of Maine in order to immerse themselves in the natural world and develop an understanding of regional ecosystems, learn wilderness travel techniques, and physically challenge themselves. The five trips include sailing, sea kayaking, canoeing, whitewater kayaking and backpacking. Once trip groups were formed, leaders spent time with kids this week practicing their skills, from sailing out from our waterfront to learning to wet exit from a sea kayak. Individual and group gear has been gathered, missing items loaned, and food packed. We can’t wait to hear about their adventures and witness their strengthened friendships and self-confidence when they return!
Not only have students been working on their wilderness skills in anticipation of these trips, they have also been submitting substantial assignments to their teachers. Preparing for math tests, US History and Literature and the Land essays and research proposals for the Environmental Issues class have filled their study hours to the brim this week.
Tomorrow we are thrilled to be taking the entire semester on a day trip to Monhegan Island in order to study the natural environment of this historic fishing enclave and get everyone out into the open ocean. Witnessing bird migration, talking with lobster fishermen and learning how this year-round fishing village lives on limited natural resources will be fascinating for all of us. On Saturday, we take off again for a day at the annual Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine, where students will see local and organic agriculture and other sustainable living practices celebrated on a large scale.
Expect fun blog entries the first week of October as students report on their wilderness trip adventures!