River Grove sixth graders recently traveled to Ely, Minnesota, for a week-long learning adventure at YMCA Camp Widjiwagan. With sunny, warm weather and stunning fall colors, our happy campers had the most beautiful Northwoods experience! We also had the whole camp to ourselves since Widji only hosts one school group at a time.
It was a week packed full of learning and exploring. Knowledgeable instructors taught about black bears, glacial geology, tree identification, and so much more. Kids hiked and explored bogs, glacial eskers, kames, and stream beds, learning about the land under their feet and the biodiversity around them as they walked. We went on night hikes and learned about the night sky. Students were able to point out planets and constellations after just one lesson, proving that experiential learning is effective and fun!
Of course you can’t truly appreciate Widjiwagan without hopping in a canoe and paddling in Burntside Lake! Everyone got to enjoy Widji’s world-famous Seliga wood-canvas canoes, soaking in the sunshine while learning new skills and working together. We even had the privilege of canoeing in a giant, 10-person Voyageur canoe, a very special experience.
Before heading home, we went on a field trip to the International Wolf Center in Ely. There we observed wolves close-up and learned about wolf communication. The wolf pup was especially fun to watch.
Sixth grader Evelyn summarized the camp experience well when she said, “I never thought I’d be able to enjoy nature in the way they let me enjoy nature, and I learned so much, too. I even got to canoe on a crystal clear lake. It was a good experience that I’ll never forget.”