Photo: Ariana and Val plant potatoes.
Every May our entire community comes together to take part in an activity that will help feed us throughout the following year—the planting of our potato crop. This Wednesday we gathered in Dexter Pasture under bluebird skies to participate in this special aspect of our farm program. Everyone lent a hand to make quick work of the important task, with more than 620 pounds of seed potatoes going into the ground in under an hour! Each small seed potato will produce exponentially more potatoes over the course of the summer, during which the field will be tended to by Camp Treetops campers. We look forward to coming together once more with our students and faculty in the fall to harvest the bounty of potatoes that will be cooked into delicious meals all next school year.
Top: Isaac and Emma cook in Global Issues class. Middle 1: Yehor and Enola cook in Global Issues class. Middle 2: Matías gives a history presentation. Middle 3: Wyatt illustrates his haiku. Bottom: Eleanor with her illustrated haiku.
Humanities classes applied the material they’ve been learning this term in a variety of ways this week, allowing them to think about the world around them through different lenses. As part of their anthropology and ethnography unit, the 9th-grade students in Global Issues class have been studying cultural identity; specifically, the cultural significance of different foods. On Wednesday the class visited the Teaching and Learning Kitchen (TLK) to cook and taste batches of some of the foods that appear on UNESCO‘s Intangible Cultural Heritage, including Neapolitan pizza from Italy and Licitar cookies from Croatia. Our 8th-grade American history students have been wrapping up the term by focusing on a specific moment or movement that they felt was particularly interesting or relevant to the present day. Students presented their research to their peers, explaining their subjects—which included the Youth Climate Movement and the Disability Rights Movement—and why they felt that the people and actions involved were significant and should be studied.
Meanwhile, our 5th-grade students participated in an interdisciplinary social studies, writing, and Wellbeing activity that combined their previous poetry lessons with their art skills and the concept of introspection. The group began with a discussion about the weather—particularly the extreme weather that we often get in the Adirondack Park—and how it can shape how we feel. They then wrote haikus describing their own feelings about different seasons and weather conditions, and decorated their poems with colorful illustrations.
Top: Emma knits a sweater. Middle: Harry knits. Bottom: Jerry finishes his weaving.
Nearing the end of the Spring Term means that many of the art projects students have been working on are getting some finishing touches. This week the students in our fiber arts classes were busy knitting scarves, hats, and sweaters using wool sheared from our sheep, and several of the larger projects are only days away from completion! Weaving students have also been busy finishing up the tapestries they’ve been working on this term by cutting them from their looms and tying off the loose ends of yarn. The intricate pieces will then be ready for display throughout our campus gallery spaces.
Top: The play band rehearses. Middle 1: Monty plays drums in the play band. Middle 2: Gwen helps Leo in music class. Bottom: Nina plays the piano in music class.
Over in the Walter Breeman Performing Arts Center (WallyPAC), whimsical melodies and intense battle anthems have been filtering out of the music rooms as our play band rehearses pieces for the the upcoming theater performance of The Hobbit. Meanwhile, our youngest musicians have been working with music teacher Gwen to learn the basics of different instruments, as well as some of the history behind those instruments. It has been wonderful watching their foundational knowledge expand throughout the term, along with their interest in learning how to play the wide variety of instruments available to them in our studio.
Top: A weekend trip group on a ropes course. Middle: A weekend trip group on a night hike. Bottom: The 9th-grade class on a rafting trip.
As we approach the last weeks of the Spring Term, several of our weekend trip groups participated in special activities that celebrated the season, the skills they’ve built over the course of the year, and one another. One Saturday trip brought our students to a high ropes course, where they challenged themselves to reach new heights and cheered one another on while enjoying the forest scenery. Another camped out on our Lake Hill, and—after setting up their tents and cooking dinner over a fire—went for a night hike up Trouble viewpoint to take in the sight of our moonlit campus.
Meanwhile, our 9th-grade class has spent the past few weeks participating in a handful of activities that will culminate their time as NCS students, and this week the group got their adrenaline pumping during an adventurous day of rafting. The students did an incredible job preparing for the activity and supporting one another throughout the sometimes challenging rapids, and made memories that they will surely bring with them wherever life takes them next.
Top: The Advanced Outdoor Leadership (ODL) class on their four-day trip. Middle: Martin and David cook dinner on the ODL trip. Bottom: Sam catches a trout on the ODL trip.
The students in our Advanced Outdoor Leadership (ODL) class took part in their own adventure that was a year in the making during their four-day overnight camping trip to the mountains and lakes near Lake George. The group practiced the Leave No Trace skills they’ve been learning since the Fall Term while setting up camp, hiking more than 18 miles, and cooking their own food. The adventurers were also able to see firsthand how thoughtful trip planning and preparation are crucial traits for being strong leaders. Congratulations to our ODL students for reaching this important milestone in their outdoor education!
FARM AND GARDEN
Top: Garden Manager Kim talks to the community about potato planting. Middle 1: Martin and Harry move seed potatoes. Middle 1: Jerry, Vivián, and Kate plant potatoes. Middle 2: The community plants potatoes. Middle 3: A row of potato planters. Bottom: Wyatt with a crate of potatoes.
This week we began our Homenight afternoon by gathering in Dexter Pasture to plant our annual crop of potatoes. Potato planting is a community job that takes days of preparation and many hands to make light work of the lofty task ahead. In the days before planting, classes and out-time groups helped the farmers prepare by cutting the hundreds of pounds of seed potatoes (potatoes that have been specifically chosen for planting) into pieces. On Wednesday, Garden Manager Kim began the annual event by explaining the process, before everyone grouped together by house to mark and plant the many rows of tuber pieces that will sprout new plants and eventually yield many more potatoes. It was a gorgeous day, and everyone had fun spending time with friends while taking in the sunshine and beautiful surrounding mountainscape. During the summer the farmers and campers will return to the field to care for the crop as it grows and, just as we do at the start of each school year, the students and faculty will join together again in September to harvest the thousands of pounds of potatoes that will be ready for picking along with the rest of our fall bounty.