This week heralded in the beginning of autumn, and the mountains surrounding the North Country School campus showed off the vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges of the season. As cooler temperatures brought about the changing of the seasons, our youngest students ventured out on their annual overnight trips, bonding with their classmates as they spent time away from campus.

Our oldest students connected NCS’s core values of sustainability and environmental stewardship to the larger world at the Global Climate Strike Rally in nearby Saranac Lake, while on our own campus we held the annual Potato Harvest—an afternoon during which the community comes together to harvest the potatoes we planted last spring. Students, teachers, and faculty children all worked together to harvest thousands of pounds of potatoes that will nourish us throughout the coming year.


In our 5th grade science, students are learning how to use dichotomous keys to identify trees on campus. The class, including students Kalina, Duncan, Wyatt, and Justin, walked around NCS’s many trails, making observations about the many coniferous and deciduous trees that grow on our campus. The group applied the scientific method as they identified birch, cedar, and balsam trees, before making leaf rubbings from those trees.

In 9th grade Global Issues class, students participated in Culture Basket presentations, identifying aspects of their lives that have shaped who they are as individuals. This assignment follows a class discussion during which the group worked to develop a working definition of culture. Students including Sky and Emily talked about their families, hometowns, education, and the key moments in their development that they feel affected their beliefs and values.

Last Friday our 8th and 9th graders attended the Global Climate Strike in nearby Saranac Lake with signs focusing on positive global change and NCS’s sustainability efforts. Students chose their own level of participation or observation and were able to witness how a community can come together to engage in peaceful protest. Students created signs highlighting NCS’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, including our campus’s innovative composting system, and met up with some former NCS students who joined the event along with their nearby high schools.


In Community Art class, students have been working on designs for the Mother Earth Project’s Parachutesfor the Planet collaborating on colorful designs focused on caring for our shared environment. The designs, some of which were used as posters for the Global Climate Strike, will get transferred onto a large parachute that will be displayed on the Mother Earth Project website and be added to the 2000+ other parachutes adorning the Washington DC Mall next spring.

At North Country School, students are encouraged to explore their world through many different modes of creative expression. In our photography program, students are taught the foundations of both digital and darkroom photography and encouraged to bring those skills with them on their excursions both on and off the NCS campus. Student Colton brought a digital camera with him for a hike this past weekend, capturing wildlife, flora, and autumn colors, while a class including Frank and Inyene learned how to load film into their darkroom cameras before capturing some shots from around campus.


This past weekend saw our students traveling around the greater Adirondack region to take in the changing leaves and beautiful views of our beautiful mountain autumn. On the summit of nearby Mt. Van Hoevenberg students were able to see the surrounding High Peaks mountain range lit up in vibrant hues, while another group camped out at the annual Adirondack Balloon Festival, watching the sunrise as giant, colorful balloons filled the air.

Our youngest students participated in their annual level overnight trips this past week, with groups heading out to the surrounding area to bond with their classmates. Our 7th graders spent the night across the street from the NCS campus, constructing shelters and climbing structures from saplings and balsam bows. After spending the afternoon on their newly constructed swing, seesaw, and lookout towers, the group cooked dinner by the fire and huddled up to sleep in their homemade shelters.

Our 4th-and-5th grade class took a boat out on nearby Lake Placid, camping on Buck Island—a small island in the middle of Lake Placid. The group swam from a floating dock, ate their dinner by a warm fire, and slept in tents beside the sparkling lake. They also helped complete a small workjob for their hosts and enjoyed some Frisbee and football before their s’more snacks.


Each Wednesday Homenight one of our residential houses takes on the responsibility of barn chores, and this past week it was Cascade House’s turn to care for our animals. Students led our horses out onto the pasture for their evening meal, refilled buckets, mucked out stalls, and dropped bales of hay down from the barn loft. After the group finished caring for our animals, each student was given the opportunity to take an evening ride on Tucker, one of the eleven horses in our herd.

Just as we come together as a community to plant our year’s potato crop in the spring, every fall we return to that field to harvest the thousands of pounds of tubers that have been growing throughout the warm season. This week the school community joined together for our annual Potato Harvest, getting their hands dirty as they dug out the bounty of potatoes planted in Dexter Pasture. Surrounded by views of Balanced Rocks, Pitchoff Mountain, and Cascade Mountain, students and teachers worked together to support our farm and help feed our community for the long winter months to come.

To read about last year’s Potato Planting event, click here: Spring Potato Planting.

Check back next week to see what we’re up to on our mountain campus.

For more information about the #This Week At NCS blog, contact Becca Miller at .