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Our Wisconsin charter school uses scientific research and project-based learning as the focus of our curriculum. Project learning is based on a constructivist model of learning that engages you in real-world scholarly activity because you get to chose topics that interest you.
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Adventures in the Boundary Waters

Posted on December 16, 2014 by Summer V. 11th grade

One of the crucial parts of being a Wildlands student is taking field trips that will improve our skills, and will benefit all of the Wildlands students even if they do not participate in the wilderness course itself. One expedition that we took the second week of school was to trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a wilderness area on the Canadian border. We left on September 8th, and returned on the 13th. This expedition was only available to seven students due to permitting in the Boundary Waters, but we wanted to be able to bring back what we learned, and include everyone in our experiences.

When traveling through the Boundary Waters we had to portage our canoes and gear from lake to lake. The portages made this one of the most challenging trips we have taken. We focused on many parts of leadership, including leadership through example and service, and also compromise. After departing from school on Monday, we headed for Ely, MN, for the first night of camping at Fenske Lake Campground. The second day we headed into the Boundary Waters. We started our trip at the boat landing on Snowbank Lake and paddled across the lake to our first portage from Snowbank Lake to Parent Lake and then into Disappointment Lake. We stayed on an island in the middle of Disappointment Lake the second night. When we woke up the morning of the third day the wind and freezing rain prevented us from traveling for the remainder of the day. Unfortunately, this foiled our plan to make it across the Canadian border, but we decided since we could not accomplish that challenge we would have to think of a new way to push ourselves. We changed our route to cross a 220 rod portage (portages are measured in rods, a rod is about 17 feet or the length of a canoe). This change in route took us into Ensign Lake, the furthest north we travelled. After the 220 rod portage we stayed the final night in Snowbank Lake in order to get out early the next morning.


Throughout this wilderness course we focused on many parts of leadership, including leadership through example and service, and also compromise. We learned several new camping and canoe skills as well as some of the area's history. Overall this was a fantastic and challenging trip, and we are glad we can bring back what we learned to all of our peers.





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In the winter of 2011, Wildlands Charter School students began producing news stories for our website and an electronic email newsletter.

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