This week ushered in more opportunities for our students to work together while hiking and participating in service work in the surrounding wilderness, clearing the edges of our hockey pond for future ice skating, and while lending a hand in our campus garden beds. Our 8th graders returned from their backpacking trip where they summited a mountain and completed a trail maintenance project, while back on campus the community worked together beneath colorful fall foliage as they harvested this season’s bountiful carrot crop.
With the arrival of cooler October temperatures our gardens will soon be put to bed for the season, and our root cellars, shelves, and freezers are filling up with the stored harvest. We look forward to the many months of delicious homegrown meals to come, and to our farm-based community Thanksgiving celebration in November.
In a seed lesson with Garden Manager Tess and Farm Intern Nick, our 4th and 5th grade class explored the Children’s Garden and flower beds, collecting seeds, flowers, and vegetables. The group then examined different flowers and vegetables and matched seeds with the correct plants. The lesson is part of the class’s Social Studies research on ancient civilizations including ancient Greece, and will connect to their theatre class where they are preparing for a Family Weekend performance of Olympiaganza.
Each Wednesday morning North Country School holds a special assembly called Town Meeting. Town Meeting brings the student body together for a group activity, a special guest speaker, or a community-related project. This past week our 9th graders took the helm of Town Meeting for Read Across NCS—a morning when 9th graders read aloud to our younger students in various locations around the Main Building. 9th graders including Rebecca, Sam, and Jonah read picture books and young adult novels to their friends in the library, art room, lounge, and West End hallway.
In 9th grade biology class, students are returning to the same campus stream sites they studied last year in earth science class for part two of their Stream of Consciousness lesson. In earth science, the students examined the geologic processes at work in stream beds. This year the students are assessing the overall health of the stream by examining physical and biological attributes including vegetation, stream erosion, and riparian buffers. They headed down to the stream beside the Hubbarb Lean-to (in the rain), working to keep their data sheets dry as they recorded their observations.
North Country School has a rich history of lamb-to-loom weaving, and down in our fiber arts studio our students have been working on vibrant creations incorporating yarns spun from our sheep’s wool. Students including Abigail, Grace, Nate, and Helen have been working on colorful wall-hangings, blankets, and pillowcases under teacher Noni’s expert guidance.
Our 220-acre campus is also a Certified American Tree Farm, which allows us to harvest lumber sustainably from our land. Trees cut from the NCS campus are used to heat our buildings in our biomass plant, to build structures and installations for community use, and to create projects in our woodshop and Community Projects classes. This term, students in woodshop are using white pine boards to build their original projects. Students including Eliza, Tony, Alex, and Sky have been drawing out designs, measuring, and cutting pieces for the chairs and tables they hope to finish by the end of the fall term.
This past week teacher Garth took a group of students out for his annual Leaf Art afternoon out-time. The group, which included students Hanna, Dominica, and Kalina, collected leaves, flowers, and berries from around campus and composed vibrant works of temporary art.
This week also marked our annual 8th grade trip to Camp Peggy O’Brien—backcountry huts in the nearby Adirondack wilderness. The group, along with teachers Larry, Kayla, Melissa, and Elie, slept in cabins and lean-tos for two nights, cooking meals and setting up camp together. Half of the group hiked up Big Slide Mountain, one of the forty-six 4000ft mountains in the Adirondack Park, while the other half of the group completed a trail maintenance project. The entire group helped assemble the pieces of an Adirondack chair that they precut on the NCS campus.The chair was left as a gift for travelers stopping at Camp Peggy O’Brien, and joins chairs built by the last two years of NCS 8th graders.
An article about last year’s 8th grade trip, featuring nature poetry written by members of this year’s 9th grade class, was recently published in Adirondac, the Adirondack Club Magazine.
FARM AND GARDEN
There are many ways in which our community helps ready our farm for the winter months ahead of us, and this week saw our students lending a hand in locations across campus. Up in the maple sugarbush, a group of students including Helen, Rebecca, and Brian worked through outtime stacking wood cut from campus trees. The wood will be stored in the sugarhouse shed throughout the winter and be used to boil maple sap into syrup once temperatures begin to warm in the springtime.
The farmers have been hard at work picking a rainbow array of winter squash that will be stored in our root cellars, and this past week the community came together once again to help pick the bounty of carrots that will be stored alongside the squash. Garden Manager Tess explained the process to the group, and then everyone went to work picking the roots from the ground and pulling off the green tops. Students were invited to sample the sweet fruits (or in this case, vegetables) of their labor, since food tastes best when you’ve just picked it yourself.
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 .