Science Teacher Andrew Deatt's reflections on his journey at Conserve School.
The Conserve School Community enjoys a strong food culture even from a distance.
Earth Art students, while completing their semester at home made natural watercolors with local soils.
Photography class students recreated famous works of art while doing distance learning.
A new Earth Art lesson quickly became a favorite exhibit among staff and students.
Math students explored the Harmonic Series and the Leaning Tower of Lire through block play.
COVID-19 has hit us all by storm. This is a current update on the CS20 (Spring 2020) semester experience.
A lesson in ice cutting engages students in history, science, team-building, and philosophy on Big Donahue Lake.
Winter camping in the Sylvania Wilderness is a challenging and rewarding endeavor.
Guest artist Terry Arnold helped Earth Art students learn how to make felted woolen slippers.
Learning how to know the forest through both Indigenous and Western knowledge.
Wisconsin's Northwoods is immersed in the heart of winter. Read some how Conserve School embraces this season!
CS20 (Spring 2020) Quinzee Ice Town was an epic record breaker thanks to the leadership and enthusiasm of both staff and students!
Witness the gift of snow as documented by the CS20 (Spring 2020) Nature Photography Class.
Inspired by Birkie Weekend, students organized their own ski race on the Conserve School campus trails.
Getting "slushed" while on a frozen lake can be humbling. Even the best laid plans are not immune to winter slush!
The mountains of Michigan's Upper Peninsula are great for downhill skiing and a fun weekend activity for students and staff.
Five educators from Conserve School presented at WAEE Winter Workshop.
Staff workshops included certification and re-certification courses.
We had another full and successful move-in day. CS20 has arrived and the semester has officially begun!
CS20 used sawing wood as an entry into environmental literature, writing, and teamwork.
Stewardship class projects help students practice positive social change.
CS19 came to a close with a final dinner together, the gift of paddles, final reflections, and hopes for the future.
Read about the CS19 Arts Club process of making a mural from start to finish.
A hybrid lesson in Science and Outdoor Skills in the Sylvania Wilderness Area.
Students learned about the intrinsic links between culture, identity, stewardship, and the food we eat in a lesson about "food justice."
Students learned about the unique biology of lichen, and their high susceptibility to air pollutants.
CS19 students participated in the optional but much anticipated Polar Plunge.
CS19 staff and students came together to organize, learn, teach, and celebrate "Earth Week" at Conserve School.
Teaching Fellow Emily Haynes recently was awarded a master's degree.
Conserve School was represented at the Fresh Coast Film Festival with a film produced by Rob and Kate Houle.
All students participate in staff-led campus night hikes to get used to being outside in the dark.
Eleva Potter, Director of Conservation Programming, writes about her recent talk at the annual NAAEE Conference.
Teaching Fellow and CS Alum, Maia, with her sister; also an alum, paddle and reflect on the nature of change at Lowenwood.
Conserve School endeavors to have a greater impact and reach more young people through a new initiative. Read about the visit from Eagle River 4th graders.
Exploration Week is a time for students to build and use their outdoor skills, as well as a time for personal growth and bonding.
The bog walk lesson in Science serves as an introduction for students to a unique ecosystem in the Northwoods.
To make the history of The Corps of Discovery come alive, history teacher, Michael Salat gives students a taste of building a dugout canoe and paddles.
Spanish Class learns vocabulary that is useful in communicating about the natural world through guided tree meditations.
English Teacher, Jeff Rennicke, led a weekend paddle in the Sylvania. Students ate scones and took in the wilderness with their senses while practicing new canoeing skills.
Conserve School Annual L.E.A.F. Event brings fund-raising and celebration.
Here is a little slice of the activities, academics, and adventuring students have been involved with since CS19 arrived almost two weeks ago.
In the first English class of CS19 saws sing and students Learn with Aldo Leopold’s “Good Oak” essay.
This summer educators gathered to learn about building community climate resiliency within the Ojibwe Ceded Territory of MN, WI, and MI.
Huckleberries are important to many species in the Rocky Mountains. Read about the volunteer data collection Science Teacher, Anderew Deaett did in Montana.
Summertime is professional development time! Read about Rebecca and Paul's recent LNT Master Educator certification training.
For the past few summers, Conserve School has been hosting Escuela Verde from Milwaukee for Conservation Camp.
Philosophical and practical reflections on pedagogy in the natural world inspires this AP Environmental Science lesson in aquatic macroinvertebrates.
Math modeling can be used to determine the probability of future potentially catastrophic events in nature.
CS17 alums lead the way with the Wisconsin Youth Climate Summit. These students are leaders, organizers and activists.
We just commissioned our 1000th student at the CS18 Recognition Ceremony! Here are the end of semester highlights.
Spanish class had fun cooking, learning about and eating traditional foods from various Spanish-speaking countries.
Science Teacher, Andrew Deaett, was recently awarded a National Geographic Educator Certification.
Recently, Spanish students reflected on their solo camping experiences, which involved 1-2 nights camping solo in Lowenwood.
Read about the kinds of campus stewardship CS18 students engaged in for their Class Taking Action Projects.
Bruce Crownover, a working print master was a guest artist at Conserve School, both working and teaching students during Earth Week.
Our adjunct social worker has a holistic approach to mental health maintenance and offers activities to support students in a variety of different ways.
Students attended an Outdoor Skills Workshop where their project was to create camp stoves using soda cans.
Our community garden is one way that semesters become interwoven with one another. One semester will plant while the next may harvest.
The Sylvania Wilderness Traverse, a planned winter camping trip that became a very foggy and damp spring camping trip.
Between maple syrup boiling and the Iron Chef style competition in Outdoor Skills class, the LRC has been smelling great lately!
A combined lesson in Outdoor Skills and Environmental Citizenship had ideal conditions to snowshoe, identify animal tracks and learn about local mining history as well as its impact.
Students did a lesson on climate change using Biltmore Sticks to estimate the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered in trees on campus.
In math class students were assigned the task of finding the shortest route to completing a journey to each of Conserve School's eleven Geocaches.
Spring is an exciting time in the Northwoods. Snow is melting, birds are chirping and sap is flowing. CS18 got their first lesson in Maple Tree Tapping last week!
Students recently had the benefit of Mutual Aid Disaster and Beehive Collective organizations as Guest Speakers in Stewardship.
With Jim Lowenstein's vision in mind, Earth Art students learn about natural history by drawing and painting in the Conserve School Natural History Museum.
The Outdoor Skills class embraces cross country skiing both in a track and in the backcountry as a means of lifelong recreation.
Science Teaching Fellow, Emma, takes inspiration from the hardships of Rosalind Franklin and sees her own grandmother in a new light.
Teaching Fellow, Martha Torstenson was awarded a Fulbright in Norway researching seasonal adaptations and how they relate to resilience to climate change.
Students in math class learned how to use mathematical modeling to explore how pollution might flow through a chain of lakes.
The Birkebeiner is a historic and festive ski race for snow enthusiasts. This is my story of Conserve School at The Birkie this year.
Lake Ecology and Tracking are just a few of the programs our Ecology team partners with Soar Charter School to provide.
While skiing, Environmental Citizenship students discussed climate change and it's affect on snow sports industries.
Spanish class takes morning nature walks and immerses themselves in the Spanish language through conversation.
In a combined English and History lesson students mounted an expedition into the winter wilderness.
In this “Skills Workshop”, 25 students worked together to build six “Quinzees” – snow shelters you can sleep inside.
Outdoor Skills and Science staff partnered up to plan a lesson that included both compass navigation and tree identification.
Many classes are honoring Black History Month in their lessons and projects. Earth Art Students learned about the quilt makers of Gee's Bend.
Field Sketching is an important combined Art and Science lesson that happens at the beginning of each semester.
In Science, students were asked to observe five different trees and note their major characteristics while learning about Wisconsin's last glacial event.
CS18 Students study the National Wilderness Preservation System in English and History class through research, imagination, and artwork.
Earth Art starts the semester with a tea party that takes students on an imaginary journey looking at crafts from different places around the world.
Every January, Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education hosts Winter Workshop for Wisconsin's Educators.
Move-In Weekend is an exciting time for staff and students; a whirlwind of new beginnings, activities and campus exploration.
Staff, faculty, and campus services have been preparing in a vast variety of ways for the arrival of the CS18 student body.
The question of "how to be human," has been an underlying theme throughout the semester in AP Environmental Science class.
Outdoor Skills class learns Wilderness First Aid and explores possible scenarios with hands on learning in their outdoor classroom.
At Conserve School students form a connection with nature through their "Phenology Spot" and reflecting on their "Sense of Place."
Students in Spanish class learned how to make empanadas together and then engaged in the tradition of "sobremesa."
Our English class, Wilderness Voices, examines perspectives in literature through "Windows and Mirrors" while spending an afternoon outside.
The Taking Action Project (TAP) is a cornerstone of the Stewardship in Action Class at Conserve School.
The art room has been a busy place! A recent guest teacher and artisan, Charles Nickles, taught students how to make rings from wood.
Stewardship in Action recently did a unit on Art as Activism where they learned several print making techniques and much more.
Students from CS17 built and practiced their ice skating skills at the Snowflake Ice Rink in Land O' Lakes, Wisconsin.
The observation of nature, phenology, is both an art and a science. Students each have their own phenology spot to observe and record their surroundings.
A History class field trip to the Norwich Mine helps students understand the mining history of the Upper Peninsula.
Math students recently studied Fibonacci numbers using monominos, then ventured into recursion and The Golden Ratio.
La mesa de español is a popular lunchtime activity for students who want to improve or maintain their foreign language skills.
This fall environmental educators from across the country gathered at Conserve School for the Green School Catalyst Leaders Summit.
The history of Lumberjacking in this region of the country gets a lesson in log splitting in Michael Salat's history class.
In Earth Art, students create characters, Environmental Heroes, from leaves and other found materials to share with the Conserve School Community.
Science Teacher, Leanna Jackan hosted a late night candlelight bog hike where students explored both folktales and scientific explanations of bogs.
Director of Student Support, Phil DeLong, writes about the intentional support measures that Conserve School provides to support its students.
In Wilderness Voices, Conserve School's English class, students reenacted one of the strangest tales in Alaskan literature.
Yesterday, with excitement, students embarked on their Solo trips, a mainstay of the Conserve School experience.
A group of students led by Teaching Fellows spent a day volunteering with the Friends of the Porcupine Mountains clearing trails for the coming ski season.
In Stewardship in Action students learned about ways to turn invasive species into food, fuel, fiber, and building material.
Students stay busy building skills and proficiency in academics, art and the outdoors. This past weekend they got to share these experiences with their families.
Families with students in Earth Art, participate in an Earth Art printing project in the art room during Family Weekend.
Students explored the world of fungi both artistically and scientifically. Learning about and hunting mushrooms in the forest and then painting them in the art room.
The Five Lake Loop is a favorite lesson for both students and teachers alike! It is a combined History and English lesson that traverses the Sylvania.
Important lessons in Outdoor Skills prior to the Five Lake Loop and Exploration Week are portaging and canoe t-rescues.
Last week's beautiful weather lent itself wonderfully to the outdoor weaving, Earth Art, project in the commons.
This week in science class, CS17 made the first step towards building a long term monitoring plan of white tail deer population on campus.
Herbivores, omnivores and carnivores, predators and prey, this is "Life and Death in the Forest." Read about this outdoor science lesson.
Math students got out of the classroom last week and went outside and into the woods to use fractals for measuring ferns.
English Teacher, Jeff Rennicke, takes time to tackle the relationship we all have with fear in the wilderness in a lesson called, "The Trail of Eyes."
Conserve School has adopted a segment of the NCT in The Trapp Hills region of Upper Michigan. Students volunteer to help maintain the trail.
In Stewardship class students harvested wild edibles, made delicious recipes, and came up with their own guidelines for harvesting with respect and for sustainability.
Our new English Teaching Fellow, Noah, from Detroit has shared a journal entry from his first camping trip in the Sylvania Wilderness during a staff training expedition.
Michael and Jeff, History and English teachers respectively combined lessons both in the classroom and on the Lowenwood Estate to rewrite "The Wilderness Act."
Our Spanish language teacher, Kathleen, taught a lesson in mindfulness entirely in Spanish to encourage both listening and thinking in Spanish.
Art teachers, Robert and Nancy kicked off the semester with a tea ceremony introducing students to crafts and natural materials used in art around the world.
Conserve School participated in the Click Youth Media Festival this summer at University of Wisconsin, Madison.
The summer residency for UW-Steven Point's new Doctorate of Education in Education Sustainability took place at Conserve School. Doctoral students from California, Rhode Island, Maryland, Beijing and Wisconsin met to present what they learned in the first year of their program.
From June 10th to the 14th teachers from semester schools around the country converged at Conserve School for the third annual Semester Schools Teachers' Conference.
The final moments of any meaningful experience are important and can often be filled with emotion. Read about and see photos and video from the CS16 Semester Celebration and Recognition Ceremony.
Read about changes to the board of the Conserve School Trust coming this fall.
...the power of the solo experience becomes clear. Through spending over 24 hours in a single area, some of the more intricate workings of this campus became familiar.
Standing on Fisher Lake in Sylvania, squinting as the wind whipped snow into my face, I felt incredibly humbled. The magnitude of the stillness and the harsh and unforgiving solitude gave me pause. I felt small and insignificant.
... I feel like I understand myself better and have a clearer view of my own passions and aspirations. I'm excited to further my work as an environmental steward and apply what I've learned at Conserve to my hometown and all other communities and places I live...
What do History, English, and the famous Five Lake Loop have to do with each other? Read about the much anticipated and loved day of hiking and portaging to five different lakes in the Sylvania Wilderness!
Students attended a Conserve School Film Festival earlier this spring in the auditorium. It was a themed, three-block, film-fest with sixteen different short films, four trailers, and one feature length film with the filmmaker doing a talk-back.
To further promote our roles as environmental stewards, CS16 participated in a full day dedicated to developing an environmental stewardship project on "Stewardship Activity Day."
In the name of science, a new staff-member, from warmer climates, me, Kate Houle, experienced winter camping in the northwoods for the first time alongside students and some very experienced staff trip leaders.
Solo camping is an important part of the Conserve School experience.
This semester, we tapped and collected sap from maple trees that are probably ancestors of trees that were traditionally tapped by the Ojibwe. In the late spring and fall, we paddle lakes that were first navigated by the Ojibwe.
"You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make." --Jane Goodall
As a journalist, Mills creates opportunities for peoples' stories to be shared with others so that the face of the outdoors is more diverse.
My land ethic will be centered around the conservative use of depletable resources and the preservation of beautiful wildlife that has been and will remain untouched.
I developed my personal land ethic: broadly speaking, a belief that as long as we rely on the the environment and wilderness for pleasure and as a resource, we have a duty to safeguard it.
A look at how to create the foundation to build life long environmentally minded citizens.
CS16 student and leader, Ken from Beloit, WI. organized the March 14th walkout at Conserve School in solidarity with schools around the country. Here is a powerful poem that he wrote reflecting on the experience.
"Felt knowledge, History, English and Spirit Guides; using their muscles, their imaginations, their brains, and their ... spirits, through art, reading, discussion, and living their lessons."
Eight adventurous students and two teacher trip leaders navigated through the Sylvania on a winter camping trip traversing from a Michigan drop-off point all the way back to Conserve School campus.
CS16 held Family Weekend March 9 through the 11th on the snowy, beautiful Conserve School campus. Families had many opportunities to experience a slice of the life their students live every day at Conserve School.
As we enjoy the sweet treat of the maple syrup throughout spring we can reflect on the CS16 Maple Syruping Celebration, the Ojibwe people of this area, and the importance of connecting to the land.
A day of skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, chili lunch and a campfire at Conserve School. Our Lowenwood trails will be groomed and ready for a day of winter magic.
Teaching fellows went on a learning trip to Treehaven, to learn as well as assist with adaptive environmental education lessons for vision impaired youth.
Today marks the beginning of the fifth week for the students of Conserve School semester 16. Over the past 31 days the students have moved from a tentative group of strangers to a close knit group of friends. I have appreciated the chance to observe this evolution.
Unlike an igloo that is made up of blocks of hard snow, a quinzee is essentially a pile of snow that is formed by shoveling snow into a mound, compacting it, then letting it settle. In an Outdoor Skills workshop about 20 students helped create these winter structures.
Students at Conserve School, as part of their AP Environmental Science class, keep a Phenology Journal. As the seasons change during the four month long semester, they journal and use visual art, like sketching and photography to record their observations.
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.
A special event for the town of Land O' Lakes, many locals and visitors gather to support Sled Dog racing teams. Also an especially memorable weekend for Conserve School students as they volunteer and learn about the unique winter sport of Dog Sledding.
In this Stewardship Seminar, students sustainably harvested White Pine, Balsam Fir, Eastern Hemlock, and Northern White Cedar to make winter teas.
Meeting new friends, the anticipation of great adventures, and sharing our campus with new students means the semester has begun! Orientation Weekend is an exciting time for both staff and students.
We close each semester with celebration, ceremony and some tearful goodbyes. There is a delicious feast, some parting gifts, and words of wisdom as students prepare for their next chapter.
I wanted these photos to focus on one single subject, rather than looking at the bigger picture. Conserve School has taught me to examine the details, single cogs in a much larger machine.
I have felt myself adapt and seen the world around me change. I have tried to capture this transition in my photography.
The past month has been a busy one as Conserve School has moved from a tearful goodbye for the students of semester 15 to the intensely busy work of refreshing the campus for the arrival of the semester 16 students. I have often heard comments about how great it must be to work at Conserve School with such nice relaxing breaks between the semesters. This month I would like to share with you a bit of how staff have been spending that "relaxing time".
In this hands-on, experiential course we explore the role of photography in nature appreciation, art, and activism using the natural setting of the Conserve School campus and the nearby Sylvania Wilderness as our subject.
Seven Conserve School students and two Conserve School staff, had the opportunity to visit the Keewanaw Bay Indian Community's Natural Resources Department the first weekend of December.
Pedaling for Power: CS3 alumi Katie Ledermann completes a bicycle ride across the country to raise awareness of the importance of our public lands. Click here to read Katie's story of her journey.
The bonding, the warmth, the creativity, good conversation, camaraderie and laughter were fueled by homemade treats and the satisfaction of making and creating with our own hands.
Currently a contestant for the Fjällräven Polar, Elijah may have the opportunity to participate in a 300 km dog sled journey in Norway and Sweden.
"Lumberjack lessons and events have widened my idea of what outdoor skills are. I used to think that outdoor skills just included things like backpacking, rock climbing and canoeing, but really there so much more."
"This open house had staff and guests share about their professional, academic, and recreational experiences related to environmental stewardship."
"CS15 students did an incredible job considering the needs of the social and ecological communities of Conserve School and made appropriate steps to plan, organize and implement their projects on Stewardship Activity Day."
"Having a class Taking Action Project gave me an idea of what it would be like to start my own personal Taking Action Project."
Foresters and national competitors in lumberjacking, including CS teaching fellow, Kate Witkowski, shared their skills, talents and knowledge with students in on a snow-covered field at Conserve School.
On November 2, six students participated in a Conserve School project at the apiary to tend to the bees.
Connecting through shared gratitude for the land and each other: Students went for a walk on Lowenwood to reflect on how being present in a moment is a form of gratitude.
Earth Fest week at Conserve School always wraps up with a special dinner. This fall's meal was planned by the Conserve School students using recipes from home.
"The photos from the simple camera I traveled with will be visual aids to all my peers and to me in the future, showing what we need to fight so hard to preserve and continue enjoying for our generation and generations to come."
Logs fuel the fire as students listen to the presentation on chaga in the northwoods. Beloved campus dog, Oliver, attended the seminar as a special guest.
Stewardship Guest Speakers Mark Voss, Augie Voss, and Bailey Sargent: Sustainable Agriculture (Mark Voss) Stewardship and CS Alums (Augie and Bailey) - A look at what they've accomplished since attending Conserve School.
Inspired by a guest speaker, some CS15 students made repairing bat boxes their Taking Action Project.
"I felt very much at peace there; to me, it was the kind of place where I felt I could stay for a long time. It also stood out as a place worth protecting."
"I was able to appreciate nature by seeing it new ways; getting comfortable with darkness, and making sure I noticed nature's beauty by looking up."
Exploration Week is a time of connecting to nature, physical challenge, bond building, reflection, personal discovery and so much more!
Sometimes a challenging hike can become a metaphor for life.
Anevay knew she needed to slow down and be aware of her survival needs in order to gain a sense of belonging in the wilderness.
Rowen sought appreciation, community and mystery. He found it in his land ethic on Exploration Week.
Prior to Exploration Week, Emilia had an "objective revelation" that was the source of some anxiety. She decided to work it out in nature.
One student's story about personal discovery on Exploration Week in the Sylvania Wilderness.
An after school activity where students learned screen printing and discussed the relationship between art and advocacy.
Conserve Students all take a physical education course entitled "Outdoors Skills." It's not a typical high school class!
In a recent after school activity, CS students gathered wild rice on the Ontonagon River near Watersmeet, MI.
On move-in day, each CS15 student was asked to write on a white board something they celebrate or would like to celebrate.
On Friday August 18, 2017 Conserve School welcomed 59 students for semester 15 (CS15).
Being a good neighbor is important to Conserve School. Throughout the school year there are several community service opportunities that Conserve School supports by providing opportunities for students to help out at.
Conserve School students spent an afternoon in English and history class paddling through the Sylvania Wilderness in the style of the Corps of Discovery from 1805 and looking ahead to 2064, the 100th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
Each semester a day is devoted to giving back to Conserve School in the form of stewardship. This spring, students spent half of the day working on permaculture projects in the garden and the other half pulling invasive species.
Each semester Conserve School has a designated Earth Week. This spring Earth Week was held on April 17 - 21st with the theme being " Water is Life."
This past week all students were invited to a Stewardship Syruping Celebration to participate in a traditional Ojibwe Syruping Ceremony and help tap maple trees to get syrup for the dining hall.
On move-in day, CS14 Students and Staff used one word to describe what Nature Is. Open up this post to see a slideshow of students and some staff members with their wo