A hallmark of the IMS experience is our Outdoor Adventure and Education (OAE) program. At each grade level, students spend time in the great outdoors in multiple ways, learning about their surroundings and about themselves. 
In mid-February, our sixth graders headed to the Taconic Outdoor Education Center for two days of learning and fun. OAE Director Eliza Statile describes the trip.

Two white buses, filled with students, sleeping bags, snow pants, and water bottles departed for the Taconic Outdoor Education Center on Thursday, February 15th. As they traveled, the snow got deeper, and the singing got louder! With a combination of nervous and excited energy, thirty sixth graders filed out of the buses and headed into the TOEC lodge.  They were greeted by the smiling faces of the outdoor educators who would be spending the next two days with them. Soon thereafter, classmates headed down the snowy path to their cabins. Little did they know that each cabin group would be handed a small animal mascot and would be tasked to come up with a name and a chant for it. They also had no idea that they would be participating in an epic lip-sync competition that very night!


At meal times, students contributed as kitchen helpers and had “limiting food waste” competitions. They also spent time snowshoeing (many for the first time), experienced night hiking, and learned about maple sugaring — how to identify maple trees, tap them, and boil the syrup (of course they tasted some too!). They also learned about survival priorities, building fires, and tracking animals. Students were challenged to step out of their everyday comfort zones in many ways. 

These two days of technology-free space allowed for many laughs, card games, and deep conversations. As one sixth-grader said on the way back to campus, “this was the best time of the whole year.”