EDISON — The sixth graders left the Wardlaw-Hartridge School early on Tuesday morning, Sept. 13, for a four-day trip to Frost Valley with Dina Congregane, Tom Gilbert, and Karen Vrotsos.
Over the course of several nature hikes, they learned orienteering (how to read and use a compass), survival skills (how to build a shelter and start a fire), and observed how FBI (fungus, bacteria, and invertebrates) decompose dead matter and restore nutrients to the soil. Students also enjoyed crossing a cable bridge; catching tadpoles, toads, and salamanders in the pond; balancing on the low ropes course; and soaring 60 feet in the air on the Flying Squirrel pulley ropes.
On day three, a half-day hike brought the group to a spectacular waterfall and then to Frost Valley’s huge composting center where counselors explained the progress of recycling food and paper waste, showing the stages of composting right up to the final stage of high nutrient soil.
Evenings were for journal writing, relaxed conversation, and invigorating night-time adventures: an uphill hike to the observatory to admire the moon through a telescope, and a hike down to the auditorium for square dancing. The final night’s activity honed the students’ communication skills as they strove to build “The Beast,” a teamwork Lego construction, then enjoyed a snack and stories around a campfire.
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