Growing up I had experienced family camping trips during summer break in the safety of our camper, but I had never had an experience in which I felt so close to nature as I did in high. The high school that I attended had a program called ODS or Out Door School. The Outdoor School provides Greenall students with a unique opportunity to obtain five academic classes in an outdoor setting. The academic classes are combined into a package that mixes curriculum and learning with a focus on environmental studies, leadership skills and personal physical fitness. This gives a chance for students to learn and experience education in a natural setting. Students travel throughout the province and learn about Saskatchewan from naturalists, scientists, conservationists and ecologists. The emphasis on fieldwork and the integration of guest speakers from a variety of disciplines provides students with an engaging authentic educational experience. In addition, the volunteer component allows students to contribute to the community.
Excitement hits at five in the morning as I’m leaving to go to Greenall High School to catch the bus. I have butterflies in my stomach as my mom talks about how she doesn’t know what she’s going to do without me. I laugh, but the butterflies turn into nausea. Nerves started to grow inside of me like wildfire. My anxious mind wouldn’t stop repeating my fear: “what if something happens”.
The nerves all disappeared when I arrived, seeing the other twenty-four classmates and how excited they are encouraged me to feel the same. Mr. Moore did a check to see if we had all our food and clothes that we needed for the trip. We were all set to go and head to the bus.
On the way there, I practice my knots, sang to the top of my lungs with the other kids and of course slept. As we got closer, the view outside my window rapidly changed from what I was used to back home on the prairies. The long, thin trees seemed to never end and once in awhile seeing areas that were oddly painted with black—grounds that wildfire wrecked from the years before.
The feeling of joy raised in my body when the bus stopped, and Mr. Moore called that we were there. After the long bus ride, I was starting to get annoyed with the students on the bus. We got our stuff out of the trailer and started to carry the canoes to the water. As I sat in my canoe getting ready to start paddling, I looked up to see the water. It was sparking and glossy while the trees look like they were on fire with orange and red behind them from the sunset. I took a breath and my lungs filled in with peace that I didn’t know that I was missing. As birds chirped, fish jumped in and out of the water and I knew this was so much more then a canoe field trip.
As we start to move, hearing our paddles stroking the water we floated into the sunset. The only thing I was thinking was “what is this feeling of peace inside of me” and why I craved it so much. Even till this day I still crave and long to feel this feeling again.
In the book “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer, I felt connected when Kimmerer stated, “The land is the real teacher” and I completely agree. Going outside on this trip leaded me to experience and connected with myself, the people around me and the environment. I’m sure if I had to go into a class, sit in a chair all day and reading or watching videos on the wildness would have gave me a different concept then the one I got. As I go on to become a teacher, I personally know there is different ways of learning and that all kids deserve to experience of what ways they learn best which can be learning and experiencing the environment around them.