Conserve School is fortunate to be located adjacent to the Sylvania Wilderness & Recreation Area. Students and staff develop a special fondness for the wilderness area so it feels especially good to be able to give back and support it so that others can experience the joys of this unique place. Each spring students participate in the Sylvania campsite survey which is organized by the Land O’ Lakes Fish and Game Club in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service. Here is a brief description of this year’s service learning opportunity in the Sylvania Wilderness.
After lunch on Sunday, May 18, 2014 eight students and two faculty members headed out to perform community service work in the Sylvania. The mission was to check in on seven campsites on Loon Lake and make sure that they were in good condition for the upcoming summer camping season. After picking up the needed tools from the Lowenstine Academic Building (LAB) they hiked up to the Conserve School landing on Big Bateau Lake and outfitted themselves with five sturdy We-no-nah canoes, life jackets and paddles. Properly outfitted they canoed across Big Bateau Lake, portaged to Florence Lake, traversed Florence Lake, portaged to Loon Lake, and then paddled to the first campsite. Overall they hiked, paddled and portaged nine miles from start to finish. At each campsite there were a number of chores to do including cleaning up campfire rings, raking leaves, clearing downed trees and identifying hazards. The weather forecast had called for a sunny 65 degree day. However, they experienced a wide range of conditions during their canoe trip with sunny moments, sprinkling rain at times and an exciting wind during the paddle from the Osprey campsites to the Mallard campsites. However, they didn’t encounter anything that the hardy crew couldn’t handle and their spirits were high.
Conserve School’s mission is to inspire environmental stewardship in young adults and activities like this help connect students with the land