Middle school students attend Trees for Tomorrow

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On April 11, a brave group of 15 seventh and eighth grade students, along with Ms. Nicole Nevers and Ms. Rebecca Rabideaux, left Kohler and set off toward in Eagle River during a blizzard. Although the trip took longer than planned, their bus driver and chaperone, Mr. Bob Fricke, delivered them safely 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 an orienteering field course after being taught the basics of compass use. They also researched unique animal adaptations and brainstormed products to solve human challenges using the concept of biomimicry.

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 a field site off campus 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. They got to experience snowshoeing, many for the first time! During free time students went hiking, met and held the Trees for Tomorrow pythons, played games, enjoyed the outdoors, and thanks to the blizzard, even got to have a snowball fight.

The trip was partially funded by generous donations from the Sheboygan County Conservation Association, the Between the Lakes Chapter of Muskies Inc., Heidenreiter Bus Company, and Mrs. Kathleen Blaser. We truly appreciate the support these donors provided as the trip would not have been possible without it.

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