Learning about Environmental Stewardship with the Center for Conservation Leadership

By Schuler Scholar Program 10/06/2014

Schuler Scholars participate in Center for Conservation Leadership Program

Over the past three summers, several Schuler Scholars have participated in the Center for Conservation Leadership (CCL) Program, a year-long environmental education program through the Lake Forest Open Lands Association. The program begins with a Summer Experience at a destination familiar to Schuler Scholars: Camp Manito-wish YMCA in the North Woods of Wisconsin, the same leadership camp they attend as newly-inducted Schuler Scholars

CCL students spend three weeks learning about conservation, developing leadership skills, and working with experts in environmental studies and conservation. After their Summer Experience, students plan and implement a Stewardship Project in their own communities and participate in educational workshops throughout the year.

Leslie, a Round Lake Schuler Scholar, shared these memories from her Summer Experience:

Many people believe summer camp is where you swim all day and tell stories by the campfire. In a way, this is true. What they don't tell you about summer camp is all of the discoveries you'll make, whether they are about the people around you, the earth beneath your feet, or the soul you have inside.

This summer I had the chance to be a part of Center for Conservation Leadership, a program that enriches students with knowledge on anything and everything conservation, nature and wilderness. A few highlights from my trip were being able to meet new people with different backgrounds and to just enjoy the scenery, whether I was hiking in the Porcupine Mountains or feeling the sand between my toes on the edge of Lake Superior. Not only was the view amazing but we got to experience what it would like to be in a college dorm and a research center where every day a new adventure would await us.

Adriana, another Round Lake Schuler Scholar and CCL participant, shared one of the moments that made her Summer Experience so memorable:

During our first week at camp, one of our fellow campers began yelling about a bear. Of course, we simply thought it was a practical joke. I was about to open the door to the girls’ cabin when I saw a movement out of the left corner of my eye. To my surprise, an aged male black bear was casually hanging out in the branches of a tree, roughly 10 feet away from me.

Now that they have returned from the North Woods, CCL students will work with adult mentors to develop their community-based stewardship projects and will participate in workshops throughout the school year. At the conclusion of the certificate program, students will present their projects to their peers, families, friends, board members of Lake Forest Open Lands Association, and program donors.

Pictured: Adriana (second from left) hiking with friends during the CCL Summer Experience.

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