This summer, I was hired by Maine Outdoor School to design and lead outdoor classes at the 2017 Blueberry Harvest School. Here are my reflections on the experience.
With the start of the third week of Blueberry Harvest School, the students and the weather gave hints of a reflective conclusion to summer. While the youngest students took a deep dive into three of the common forest lives they had been seeing, the older students considered the needs of plants and decomposition, and the oldest students explored the mutually reliant world of blueberries and humans.
While August days are hot, nights become notably crisp and cool, red maple trees begin to blush with the telling color of a closing season, gardens become full of their bounty, and many animals begin their annual migration to follow the sun. This migration is a reality for many of our feathered friends, such as geese, loons, and warblers, but is also a reality for individuals of our own species.
From late July through August 2016, MOS staff partnered with Mano en Mano of Milbridge to facilitate some staff teambuilding and professional development, a series of four field trips, and daily outdoor programs which served as a curriculum-tied alternative to what had been physical education in past years. We called this new physical education block “Outdoor Explorations.”