Day 1

Monday: Day of Arrival

My students arrived very enthusiastically at 11:15, dropped off their stuff at the lodges, and joined me at the Friendship Circle. We had lunch as a big group, talked about the IslandWood rules, and then headed out as Team Lightning for the very first time. We started off by giving each other nature names. I decided to go with Eagle Erin this week. Next up was a solo hike....nothing like an abrupt entrance into nature and solitude! As they arrived to the Pond Shelter one by one, I could tell who had followed the "hug a tree" card because they were covered in moss. They were obsessed with hugging trees for the rest of the afternoon. On the way back we stopped to admire the shelf fungus and the maple trees (and giving it lots of love).

We made a stop in the Dining Hall and asked the chef what's for dinner. Turkey and mashed potatoes, surprise surprise! They also met Wade, our friendly dining hall scale that weighs the students leftover food.

Our next stop was to the gear room where they borrowed their rain pants and rain jackets for the week We played a game of Earth Eyes, then set out for exploration! I had hidden their IW journals around the admin wild zone, and their challenge was to find the hidden cultural items. I obviously hid them a bit too well and one of them was never recovered. Luckily I always carry a spare journal in my backpack just in case; I inconspicuously placed it by a log when no one was looking!

I had them journal about what their perfect week at IW would look like, and that lead into the community agreement where we discussed how they were going to achieve those things. "Earn the right to do these things", "Respect each other", "Keep our hands and feet to ourselves", "Listen to each other". Go team Lightning!

We discovered some deer prints and deer poop on the way back to the lodges. Fascinating stuff to a 5th grader.

As I was walking back to the lodge, I found out that my chaperone was from Malaysia! Not was she just from Malaysia, but from Penang! And not JUST Penang - she grew up in Fettes Park, right across from Island Plaza! We were practically neighbors! We talked about chicken rice and the best hawker stalls in Penang. That made me really excited.

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