Stewards of Our Land and Creativity
Emily Hayne, Wilderness Fellow

Campus Stewardship Projects are community-oriented activities for students to give back to Conserve School. On a Tuesday after class students removed trees that were growing too close to the one of our residential buildings. Students used shovels to remove snow around the balsam fir tree trunks then used saws to remove trees. We recognize that the removal of these trees is reducing the space for squirrels to climb and birds to perch.

However, instead of leaving the trees to decompose in the woods, we wanted to make the harvesting of these trees into a practice of mindfulness. At Conserve School, we consider how to reduce the waste of natural resources. For this project in particular, with the lush green of the balsam fir branches, we wanted to use this resource to make handmade art.

The day following the harvesting of the trees, students joined staff to learn how to make wreaths. Participants chose branches to work with, bend into a circle and begin the process of adding layers of balsam fir and cedar branches as well as birch bark. As these materials were added, the wreaths featured the many textures and colors that Lowenwood has to offer. This was a wonderful opportunity for students to craft with natural materials and turn the harvesting of the trees into a project of creativity.