In the fall of each school year, our 5th graders embark on a two-day, outdoor adventure on campus grounds, with an overnight on our mountain.

Here's what Outdoor Adventure & Education Director, Eliza Statile, shared with the school community about this year's 5th grade experience.

At IMS, our mountain is a classroom, and we know that a great deal of learning happens outside of the traditional classroom walls and on these trips. There were certainly many lessons to be learned throughout those two days: from how to pack your bag, to setting up and breaking down a tent, communication and teamwork, and taking good care of the land.

With heavy rain and fog in the morning of the first day, we were able to utilize the Outdoor Working Lab (OWL) and our gym on campus to participate in team building activities to help improve our communication, trust, and collaboration skills. These are skills that we will continue to develop throughout the year.

After the rain ebbed and the fog cleared, we were able to hike to two of the highest locations on our mountain: Falcon’s Ledge, and the Chimney. At various stopping points along the way, we discussed the principles of Leave no Trace that students had been taught earlier in the day, as well as the many ways we can be stewards of our environment. A highlight was witnessing students’ putting those Leave No trace principles in action.

Around the fire, with plenty of marshmallows and chocolate, we read a part of the story “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer, and paused to discuss proper preparation for outdoor adventures and how we can ensure the safety of ourselves and each other on these trips. We retired to our tents for the night. One student gave advice for next year’s 5th graders: bring earplugs!
After breaking down camp and eating breakfast the next morning, we spent the day with Follow the Forest, learning the vital importance of our forests, and how we can protect and connect the forests in our area.

Overall, it was wonderful to see the 5th graders step outside their comfort zones, learn valuable lessons, and make lasting connections with each other. Some lasting memories were made on the 5th grade’s first overnight trip!