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School in the woods

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By Maria Lovely LPHS freshman
My first camping trip at Swan Creek was a great experience. On day one, we hiked
to a waterfall, then sat and wrote and listened to nature. It made me realize that we
don’t often take time to stop and appreciate everything we have.
Being a new student to LPHS this year, not knowing anyone was kind of scary. But
after sharing a tent with my classmates, I got to know them better and now feel like
I fit in more. We bonded throughout the expedition.
Working with peers to prepare meals and do other camp chores such as dishes,
Leave No Trace (LNT), and unloading the bus taught us some life lessons. One very
important lesson was teamwork. We also learned about being prepared – if we
forgot something, we couldn’t run home and get it. This is something we will need
for the rest of our lives. Being in the outdoors gave us a chance to truly be who we
are and for us to accept ourselves and others.
It’s easy to forget how big the world is when we just see it through textbooks. Going
out into the wilderness gives us a new perspective. We saw the landslides we
learned about in science class, and the slopes of mountains we talked about in
On the second day Ms. DeBiasio, a volunteer, taught us about “Bring the Calm, not
the chaos” – what to do in different accident situations that can occur in the
backcountry. This has inspired me to volunteer with search and rescue or ski patrol
when I’m old enough.
The expedition also included community service. Following LNT principles, we
checked our campsites thoroughly and picked up trash, then walked through the
other campgrounds picking up garbage from other people. Afterward, we all felt we
had left it much better than we found it.
We also had fun playing games, making boats from things we found in nature, and
hanging out around the campfire drinking hot chocolate.
This is just a small part of what we experienced. What we learned out there, we
could not have learned from a textbook. Since we live in Montana and this
wonderful place is right out our backdoor, I think everyone should take advantage of

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