The New Jersey School of Conservation was excited to host the seventh grade of Lincoln School from Garwood, NJ. The students arrived with high spirits and eagerness to take part in the outdoor recreational activities lined up for them on their three-day, two-night trip. After settling in their cabins and refueling at lunch, they were off to their first activity.
The students were split up into four groups and took turns working on ASE challenges. ASE stands for Action Socialization Experience and requires each group to work together as a team to find a solution to each problem. The students worked on their communication and listening skills to convey their ideas to one another and considered the ideas of their classmates as well as utilized their teamwork and leadership abilities to execute a possible solution.
On day two, the students had the opportunity to hike to Sunrise Mountain using both NJSOC and Stokes State Forest trails. Along the way, the students were educated on how to read trail markers and some of the plants that can be found in and around the NJSOC campus. At the top of the mountain, the students enjoyed lunch with views of New Jersey’s, New York’s, and Pennsylvania’s landscapes.
For the rest of the trip, the students continued to work on the skills highlighted during ASE challenges. During Survival/Orienteering, knowledge of how the body prioritizes needs and the basics of starting a campfire was obtained while gaining experience using a compass. The climbing wall and confidence course fostered a safe space for the students to step outside of their comfort zone while climbing a 20-foot wall and tackling physical challenges, respectively. Fish ecology permitted the students to develop their fishing skills while learning about some of the fish and their habitat here in Lake Wapalanne. During time in between classes, Lincoln students discovered a painted turtle nest and bought it to attention of NJSOC staff to ensure the safety of the turtles making their way from the nest.
The last group activity of Lincoln’s trip was certainly not the least exciting. Boating skills allowed the students to exercise their ability to communicate and cooperate in a smaller setting. NJSOC educators covered the basics of paddling, braking, and turning a canoe before the students assisted each other in carrying canoes down to the dock. Once the class was on the water, they had the opportunity to explore the banks and islands as well search for some of our amphibian and aquatic friends in Lake Wapalanne. To add more fun to an already stimulating experience, the students played a game on the water to really put their boating skills to the test.
The NJSOC educators would like to thank coordinator Matt Burke, the teachers of Lincoln School, and the parents that accompanied the students for making this trip a success. We shared a wonderful time together and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors. We look forward to hosting Lincoln School again next year!
Written by Dina Jones