Today we embarked on our annual kick-off canoe trip. We had a small crew, but we had big adventures!
A few of us got to spend the day at the Audubon Center of the North Woods today helping to get firewood ready for this winter. We split and stacked logs and were rewarded for our hard work with a delicious meal from the Audubon's great cooks! It's always a treat to get to the Audubon Center; and what a beautiful day it turned into!
What a beautiful day for a visit to the Finlayson School Forest! Today, we worked on hauling out the old pieces of the dock, cleaning up the bench area, and grooming some hiking trails. If you flip through the pictures you will start to see the transformation of one of the hiking trails from overgrown to clear and groomed. We even had a few canine companions with to keep up morale.
Today we made our way back to the School Forest in Finlayson, MN to check on the trails we have been clearing and expanding, and to investigate the dock we will be re-building. (Yes, we trusted the students with an axe :-D ). As a bonus, the students decided to conduct their own research into mushroom identification when they discovered that there were many different kinds growing in our forest. And to top it off, those who came along got five-dollar pizza! We will be revisiting the forest to work on the trails a bit more in a few weeks. And we will be working on building the dock pieces in class over the winter and bringing out the new dock in the spring.
For the 2nd year in a row we kicked off the start of our ALP school year with a canoe trip down the St. Croix river. The students conducted research on the St. Croix River route we would be canoeing, the history of the St. Croix River, the origin of the word "canoe", and they also created their own maps for the trip. Most of the students had never been in a canoe before, but only one ended up getting wet! It is always a great team-building experience, and a bit of fun to start off the year, get to know one another, and be introduced to Project Based Learning (PBL).
The students spent today at Changing Gaits learning team-building, life skills, and interaction with horses. They met and connected with some amazing individuals and were able to enter into a mutually beneficial and healing mentor/mentee relationship for a few hours. Some of them were able to ride a horse for the first time! Ask a student about their experience!
More information about Changing Gaits' as stated on their website (www.chainginggaits.org): "Changing Gaits, Inc. is a... diversified Equine Assisted Addiction Services (EAAS) and is committed to teaching, guiding, and encouraging positive attitudes, behavior modification, and life skills by using a powerful, therapeutic approach though the healing bond with horses, not only for substance abuse, but also for individuals needing social interaction, problems with verbal and non-verbal communication, repetitive actions, etc. This also works well for teams to learn better ways to communicate. EAAS is based on OK Corral techniques, and is effective for all ages (children, teenagers, adults, families, groups) to learn:
Creative thinking, Assertiveness, Relationship building, Self-esteem, Problem solving, Leadership, Teamwork, Positive attitude, Verbal and non-verbal communication, Social interaction, and Repetitive actions.
Briefly, EAAS is an emerging field in which horses are used to assist for emotional growth and learning to address issues related to substance abuse, along with problems in communication, relationships, behavior, and all Life Skill issues."
Today we were able to visit the Audubon Center of the North Woods to help clear hiking and cross-country ski trails. The weather was gorgeous and the trails were beautiful. I think I can speak for all of us when I say we had a very fulfilling and rewarding experience. Hopefully we can get back to visit this winter and ski on the trails we helped to groom!
Today we were able to get out to Changing Gaits for about an hour and spend some time with the gentlemen of the house and the horses. It was a quick little teaser-trip for our bigger outing in a few weeks. (More information about Changing Gaits coming in that post; check back in on Nov. 4th!)
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