Eleven 8th grade Advanced Trekkers, along with three student and three adult leaders, returned to Maine on July 18 after completing their 10-day educational expedition. Team Penobscot first boarded “Daisy,” the Trekkers’ bus, on July 9 to begin their travels throughout New England. The students had met together in a series of planning meetings throughout the school year to create their own itinerary. Using a consensus decision making process, they had collectively determined how they would meet five educational components during their journey. The educational components are community service, environmental stewardship, adventure-based education, wilderness exploration, and cultural awareness.
The team started their expedition by spending two days in Shelburne, Vermont. While there, they visited Green Mountain Power’s Renewable Education Center to learn about renewable energy efforts in Vermont. They learned how species populations and wildlife habitats are impacted and considered when renewable energy projects are underway. The group also explored Burlington, hiked up Mount Mansfield (a 5 mile round-trip trail that starts at the base of Stowe Mountain Resort) and toured Ben & Jerry’s, where they learned about the factory and their efforts to stay local and fair trade.
The team’s next stop was Charlemont, Massachusetts, where they stayed at Savoy Mountain State Park, and completed their adventure component by white water rafting on the Deerfield River. On their way to the Catskill Mountains in New York, Team Penobscot visited the Catskills Animal Sanctuary, where they went on a tour of the farm and helped with service projects throughout the afternoon. Visiting all of the animals on the property, the students learned about the Sanctuary’s efforts to rescue farm animals, as well as the aspects of farm animal abuse and factory farming implications. Their next stop was the Zen Mountain Monastery, where the students learned about Buddhism for their cultural component. On day eight of the expedition, the team headed to Kettletown State Park in Connecticut. The Six Flags New England amusement park in Massachusetts was the team’s last stop, where they had fun on the many rides.
Throughout their 10-day expedition, the students spent time each night journaling about the day’s experiences and how they related to their own personal lives. As one student shared, “This expedition has opened my eyes to a bunch of different ways of life that I have never seen before, and made me consider them for my future.”
To read more about the Team Penobscot expedition, visit www.trekkers.org and follow the links to the Programs page for 8th grade. To view more photos, visit Trekkers’ Facebook page: www.facebook.com/trekkersonline. To learn more about Trekkers, please call (207) 594-5095.