Langley Middle School Adventure Education Program
South Whidbey School District
November 23, 2005
To Whom It May Concern:
The Adventure Education Program at Langley Middle School is now about 12 years old; about the age of the kids in the class. It is a small enterprise (first one elective class of 13/14 year old girls and boys then for some years two classes with the addition of a 7th grade section and finally now just one class each semester again) with a long history and big aspirations. It is also at somewhat of a mid-life crisis due to budget constraints, personnel changes and a need for new worlds to conquer.
The program started as a single 8th grade semester class in which a 5 day sailing/kayak/camping trip was planned, executed and documented by students under the guidance of one instructor and one staff member assistant. Typically there was a Fall and a Spring trip each followed by reflection/documentation activities like video creation, slide shows and various presentations to a parents and friends night. The program has served approximately 600 students over the years and was nurtured by two staff members who have now moved on to other things. New people have stepped forward are looking to evolve the program.
The idea behind Adventure Ed. has always been to create an experience of the outdoors that will inspire a sense of wonder and even joy which in turn will form the foundation of future academic interest and excellence. How will kids learn to care about the natural world if they have little direct experience in that world? School bound study is not enough to stimulate a thirst for understanding; Adventure Education and programs like it strive to put the horse back in front of the cart as regards motivation and learning.
Support from our district has been steady but not deep. The program has been allowed to continue but not to thrive; it is exists as a perennial pilot program, a nod to an idea, far from an embrace. Nevertheless our district is something of a pioneer in this area relative to most public school administrations.
Expeditions up to this point have relied on the generosity of individual community people for material support. These sources are reaching exhaustion and were never meant to sustain the program indefinitely. To take this project forward we need a chance to inject new excitement and, well, adventure, into Adventure Education in the hope of gaining acceptance and recognition of the basic idea as profoundly important to development of middle school students.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Today when I woke up I was so tired. I heard the breakfast bell ring and headed over to the dinning hall. I stepped outside and just about froze to death! For breakfast we had eggs, hash browns, and English muffins. After breakfast my clean up group was assigned to clean up duty, so we had to do dishes and clean off the tables. When we were all done with the torture I went over to get ready for the day. We went on a snowshoeing hike and it was pretty fun but it made your feet feel really heavy. Later when we got back we had lunch, sandwiches again! Then we had another class. We learned about fire ecology and it was really interesting because all the trees around us had been torched by a huge forest fire. Also after the snowshoeing hike we started to build the snow quinzhees. They had to be 5 feet tall and when you dug them out it had to be 12 inches on the bottom and 8 inches on the top. Then later we got a little bit of free time and I watched a movie while everyone else was out digging out the quinzhees. Finally it was time for dinner. We had homemade pizza and salad. It was quite good. During part of the dinner Mr. B was outside digging out the rest of the quinzhees. After dinner we played Jeopardy on all the stuff that we had learned and that was fun. For dessert we got popcorn and everyone pigged out. Most all the girls after the game and dessert were fighting about who got to sleep in the snow shelters. But finally we just said who cares and we all slept outside in the snow and let the boys sleep in the snow shelter. I woke up in the morning around 3:00 am and was covered in snow, so we all went inside to sleep.
Posted by Mr. Bergquist at 1:00 PM
Posted by Mr. Bergquist at 12:48 PM
Thursday, January 05, 2006
To the Intermediate School Staff-
On behalf of Mr. Bergquist’s 7th grade Adventure Education Class, I would like to thank the Intermediate School for their cooperation with our Service-Learning project. On December 17th, members of the class participated in a trail restoration project behind the Intermediate School, not only benefiting the community, but increasing their knowledge of the watershed as well. This project was executed in conjunction with Maxwelton Salmon Adventure, a local organization working for watershed restoration and awareness. The Service-Learning activities that took place behind the Intermediate School not only served as a supplement of knowledge for the students participating, but also greatly contributed to the Intermediate Schools facilities, providing accessible trails for classes and members of the community.
The class was separated into three main work groups known as “The Shinglers”, “The Rakers”, and “The Pruners”. The previous day they were prepared with an in-class lecture from a representative from Maxwelton Salmon Adventure, which enabled them to immediately begin trail work at 10:15 am. The first group, known as “The Rakers”, cleared several trails, such as “Lizard Loop”, “Elderberry Hollow”, and “Mass Turnpike”, which in turn made them wheelchair accessible. The second group, known as “The Pruners”, restored heavily overgrown trails. They cleared a path known as “Alderwood Tunnel”, which led to the Bird Blind, which was previously inaccessible to students. The final group, known as “The Shinglers”, attached shingles onto “Troll Bridge”, making the structure less slippery.
The community service provided through this Service-Learning project is significant, as is the hands on experience the students received. The Adventure Education Class repaired a system of trails for the community, enabling it to be used by students from the Intermediate School for immersion in nature. In addition to this they also were given the opportunity to apply their previous knowledge of the watershed to real-life experience. Projects like these not only benefit the community, but also the academic process as a whole. The Adventure Education Class would like to thank the Intermediate School for this opportunity.
Posted by Mr. Bergquist at 3:28 PM