Enivronmental Stewards

“We try to make each experience really out there,” says Foehring. “We want them to have a lot of fun, and then the education piece gets snuck in.”

Food For Thought

In addition to outdoor activities that build awareness about ecosystems, the team tries to show campers what they can do in their everyday lives to protect the environment. One way they accomplish this is through food conservation.

Campers are asked to roll up their sleeves and help from dirt to dinner. They begin by planting and tending a garden on-site. Once the food has been harvested, kids make dishes using the food they’ve grown. Along the way, they learn about where food comes from, how to create it in nature, what happens after it’s been eaten, and what happens to the food left behind. In addition, compost piles and compost toilets assist in teaching lessons, while a scale named Wade weighs wasted food each week.

“We don’t even make it a competition with Wade,” says Foehring. “The kids see how much food we waste in a week and on their own start reducing it. Sometimes we start at 20 pounds, and by the end of the week we’re down to two, sometimes zero. It’s amazing to see them learn on their own and begin to adjust themselves to conserve.”

As a result, parents tell administrators that when the kids return home, they encourage their parents to eat vegetables, to help cook with the family, and to look into composting as a way of eliminating unnecessary waste.

According to its mission statement, IslandWood “envisions a future in which all people view themselves as lifelong learners, and share an extraordinary bond of stewardship for the environment, for their communities and for each other.” Through educating their campers on ways to love and appreciate the environment, IslandWood accomplishes its mission one kid at a time.

Heather Reichle is a freelance writer living in Columbus, Ohio. She can be reached via e-mail at HReichle28@yahoo.com

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