Our Eagle Bluff Adventure

We are back!

I am confident the kids had a great time, I know I did!

The trip started off with a two hour bus ride to Fountain, Minnesota (the self-proclaimed Sinkhole Capital of the World). Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center is just outside Fountain.

Rather than a blow by blow, minute by minute rundown of the entire trip, I'm going to make some summaries, and then some observations. First off, since this was an "Environmental Learning Adventure" , the trip was centered around some environmental classes. Our kids (and chaperones) participated in the following classes.
- Wildlife Ecology
- A Naturalist Program called Reptiles (included a special guest Timber Rattlesnake)
- A Tree-tops rope course
- Animal Signs
- A Naturalist Program called Cave Ecology
- Fungus AmongUs (we actually ate a home-made mushroom pizza in class!)

Wildlife Ecology: Students will investigate the dynamic interrelationships of wildlife populations and their habitats. Through interactive demonstrations and explorations, students will learn about components of habitat, carrying capacity, limiting factors, and biodiversity, and then see examples of these concepts at work in surrounding natural areas.

Reptiles: Often misunderstood, reptiles can evoke strong emotions. With the help of a live snake, students will learn about Minnesota reptiles, conservation efforts, intriguing facts, and reptile’s amazing adaptations.

Animal Signs: Using all their senses, students will try to unravel the mysterious lives of Eagle Bluff's wildlife and discover the food chains living nearby. Time will be spent exploring and interpreting animal signs, acting out an example food chain, and the entire class will work together to form one large food web.

Cave Ecology: Caves are a fascinating result of the Karst geology defining the landscape of Southeastern Minnesota. Learn how caves form, what special creatures inhabit caves, and why they indicate a unique subsurface highly vulnerable to contamination.

Fungus AmongUs: What lurks inside the Chamber of Disgust? Only you will know after investigating the important role that decomposers play in the world. Participants will be amazed by the diversity of fungus as they search for and identify mushrooms, molds, crusts, and slimes. They will witness decomposition in action and discover that pizza (and many other foods for that matter) just would not be the same without fungus.

(Course Descriptions above all come directly from the Eagle Bluff website)

While at Eagle Bluff, we ate pretty good (for a residential camp for K-12 kids!) We enjoyed...
- Mini Turkey Corn Dogs
- Pasta Bake
- Scrambled Eggs & Sausage
- Sausage, Pepperoni, or Cheese Pizza
- Chicken Drummies (or herb encrusted baked chicken breasts for the adults)
- French Toast Sticks & Bacon strips
- Bag Lunch for trip home (Cold cut sandwiches)

Each meal also included a Salad Bar that consisted of two different types of lettuces, cole slaw (or other miscellaneous type of "salad"), cottage cheese, mandarin oranges, and dressing. In the mornings, the salad bar was filled with cereals and fruits! It was quite the spread. But there's a catch (as there always is)...

Each school was to keep track of the food waste they were responsible for creating. Each school was assigned weight to try and keep their waste under (based on school size and length of stay). Our goal for 29 students and 12 adults for three days was "less than" two lbs of food waste - TOTAL.

I'm embarrassed to say at home we seem to waste about two lbs of food each meal... I thought there was no way these kids could do it. By the end of the trip, we had a total of one ounce of waste for the whole group! It was a good lesson for the kids (and the adults) about just how wasteful we are. It was not hard to achieve this at all! I foresee a change at home!

We also partook in some "group activities" that included included a campfire, the "Eagle Bluff Olympics", and we had a GREAT time with some tug-o-war events... (boys vs girls, 5th vs 6th grade, girls vs 6th grade (that was a humbling loss for the 6th grade boys), chaperones vs kids, etc) the tug-o-war was a BLAST! And finally we were rained out of a "night hike".

I'll have a couple more "observations" forthcoming, but it's so darn nice outside, and I have a couple of projects waiting for me - I just cant sit here anymore!

Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Dude, sounds like you need to detox from all that goodness with some old fashioned "all meat" corndogs and processed cheese!

    And (hee hee), I couldn't help but notice your final comment about some...um...projects you need to do; alone...

    In all seriousness, sounds like a great time!


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