On Thursday, October 24, a group of 20 seventh and eighth grade students, along with Ms. Nicole Nevers and Mr. Jim Lautenschlaeger, left Kohler and set off toward Eagle River on route to the Trees for Tomorrow campus.
Trees for Tomorrow is a nonprofit natural-resources specialty school which uses a combination of field and classroom studies to teach sustainable practices as well as demonstrate the benefits of contemporary resource management. Their mission is to prepare today’s youth to be tomorrow’s stewards of our natural world. During their first day on campus, Kohler students worked cooperatively to complete several team-building challenges. They also learned the basics of compass use and completed an orienteering field course. After dinner, students participated in a night hike and experienced the forest using their senses other than sight.
The second day of their adventure began with an introduction to field-based science skills. Students learned how to identify and measure both coniferous and deciduous trees as well as how to look for animal signs. They then used what they had learned to make observations and collect data at an off-campus field site and used this data to make predictions and formulate hypotheses about forest succession. Finally, students were engaged in a discussion about the water cycle, and through a series of activities, explored how water travels through substrates, used relief maps to chart nearby watersheds, and explored human impacts on groundwater resources.
The third and final day, students took part in a culminating lesson in which they learned about land management practices, then traveled to a field site and used the knowledge and skills gained in previous lessons to collect data, and decide how to best manage a piece of land. Students then presented their management plan to the class using data they collected to support their choice.
While on campus, students ate delicious meals together in the dining hall. During free time students went hiking, met and held the Trees for Tomorrow pythons, played games, enjoyed the outdoors, and even organized a wedding!.
The trip was partially funded by generous donations from the Sheboygan County Conservation Association and the Between the Lakes Chapter of Muskies Inc. We truly appreciate the support these donors provided as the trip would not have been possible without it.