Polar Explorer Eric Larsen
Conserve School
Rainy and cold, 38 degrees F
03 November 2006 | Land O Lakes, Wisc
I loaded the sled canoe, my dad and the traveling One World Expedition show and headed north to a boarding school in northern Wisconsin called the Conserve School.

Conserve School is an interdisciplinary college-preparatory boarding school for academically talented students in grades 9-12. The campus is located on 1,200 acres of pristine woodlands in Land O' Lakes, Wisconsin. Conserve School provides a well-rounded education for students in the disciplines of humanities, mathematics and sciences through a curriculum that offers students a unique, three-tiered educational experience focused on the environment, ethics, and innovation. To learn more about the Conserve School, please visit www.conserveschool.org

I had a great time talking with students and presenting about my summer journey to the North Pole. Of special interest, was a visit by a polar bear (see picture). The bear is actually Joe Panci, a forest ecology instructor at the school. Joe helped arrange my visit in conjunction with the Shared Earth Symposium.

Conserve School' s Shared Earth Symposium is a extension of Earth Day, a reminder that Earth Day should be every day. Held in October each year, SES is an opportunity for students to participate in programs, lectures, debates, activities, and more focused on gaining a better understanding of the natural world and our place in it. It is designed to help us all live not just on the planet but with it.

This year's theme was "How Listening Can Save the World”.

Students attended a variety of "Listening Sessions” designed to teach and give them practice in the art of being a good listener with the hope of applying those skills in the increasingly polarized world of environmental issues. They learned about "active listening”, "recognizing bias”, "checking sources”, "asking probing questions” and more. They then had the chance to listen to several presentations by people on polar opposite sides of controversial issues, using their new-found listening skills to gather information. Finally, they were asked to "take a stand” with a mock vote held on the issues they had heard about in those presentations.

Joe also managed to find the time in his busy day to impersonate a polar bear. You look great Joe. The bear mask is made by Jonathan Becker. To learn more about Jonathan and the types of masks he makes, please visit www.theater-masks.com

The next morning my dad and I were up early. We spent a bit of time touring the school then drove south stopping to look at rocks ever so often. While I am glad I traded my old truck in for a small fuel efficient car, traveling with all this gear and equipment can get a little tight at times. Regardless, I love my little car. I now get around 40 miles to the gallon. I am going twice as far for a third as much. Who says saving energy and stopping global warming can't make good economic sense.
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