It has been 2 weeks since CS20 (Spring 2020) arrived at Conserve School! After staff completed 2.5 weeks of pre-semester workshops, preparation, and planning, they were all very excited to welcome students to campus. Lowenwood (Conserve School's campus) is lonely without the energy of students learning, laughing, growing, and exploring.
Move-in day was a big day for everyone! Many traveled far distances in winter weather to get to Conserve School. Arriving on campus, students made multiple stops around the LAB at various "move-in stations" to get their lanyards, key fobs, heath center screenings, their photo ID taken, meet with advisors and receive their class schedules. Following that, many trips were made back and forth to vehicles (in the snow), gathering belongings and settling into the houses before parents departed from campus.
In the evening, students and staff ate dinner together for the first time; staff commented on how quiet everyone was at the first meal, knowing that in a week or two, dinnertime will be a little more boisterous. Teaching fellows then led fun, "getting to know each other" activities to help break the ice and bring down some of those nervous walls and first-day jitters. After everyone was more relaxed, Conserve School community values were discussed. Our community values include respect, responsibility, justice, compassion, and honesty. Students met in breakout groups with staff facilitators, and each group was assigned a different "value" on which to interpret, communicate, and present to the staff and student body.
After discussing CS values, staff and students made the hike out to Five Corners, a location that was special to our founder, Jim Lowenstine. From this location, many of the campus trailheads originate and are used to head out on hiking and paddling adventures. At Five Corners with a campfire to light the night, standing under the stars surrounded by snow, staff, and students engaged in the "Opening Candlelight Ceremony." This is a Conserve School tradition, in which intentions for the semester are set, history of the land is explained, and inspirational quotes about conservation and environmental stewardship are read aloud by staff members. At the conclusion of the ceremony, when students left for their houses, staff members took a few moments, lingering by the fire to reflect. The night's activities, especially the candlelight ceremony, once again made it feel as though the semester had officially begun!
Photos contributed by Rob Houle, Technology and Media Specialist, Kate Houle, Communications Specialist, and Stefan Anderson, Head of School.