The week before students go off on Exploration Week, they get one more combined English and History lesson of "felt knowledge" from teachers, Michael and Jeff. This is of course the famous Five Lake Loop! A much anticipated and loved day of hiking and portaging to five different lakes in the Sylvania Wilderness! There are four different groups that do the loop, two groups going clockwise and two groups going counter clockwise, all starting from Big Bateau Lake. The other lakes in the loop are Florence Lake, Loon Lake, Deer Island Lake and Cub Lake. In addition to this being a day of "felt knowledge" it prepares students mentally and physically for some of the challenges and victories that may arise on Exploration Week. Students usually come back from the loop more excited than ever to go on their Exploration Week trips.
Here is what English teacher, Jeff Rennicke had to say about the Five Lake Loop lesson:
"The theme of the lesson plan (for BOTH History and English) is "Time Travel." In History, we go back to 1805 to read about and experience the feeling of Lewis & Clark's portage of the Great Falls of the Missouri River. In the English section, we jump not backwards but AHEAD to September 3, 2064 (the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Wilderness Act) and discuss both what students want the wilderness to be like on that anniversary and what they can do to help ensure that it is that way. I was honored to be one of the speakers at the national celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act in 2014 held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I tell them, but I won't be at the 100th anniversary so it is up to them and we discuss how they hope the world will be by then. Finally, we read a piece called "Through the Looking Glass: Wilderness in 2064" by Jeff Rose and Dan Dustin.
As we push the boats back in the water following the reading, we end by telling the students:
"As you paddle the rest of the way today, imagine you are traveling a timeline with the wilderness of Lewis and Clark receding behind you and the wilderness of 2064 somewhere out ahead on the horizon. We can't change the past. We can, however, do something about what the wilderness will be like in 2064. Think as you paddle about how you might use your "Wilderness Voice" to play a part in ensuring that the wilderness out ahead is the way you want it to be.""
**** Photos and video by Rob Houle
Five Lake Loop: