Sunday, October 3, 2010
Life on the Bluff
Eagle Bluff Naturalists 2010-2011
What have I been up to?
I have spent the last month and a half getting to know my new home, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center. Joe Deden is our fearless executive director who is ever a support and motivator. His dream was to bring Germany's model of environmental education here to the US, and as a result we have Eagle Bluff. Joe and his wife, Mary Bell, has been extremely supportive of my goals in the midst of their sustainable home renovation (their walls will have an R-rating of 40...the current standard is about 9!). They happen to live on the edge of our scenic bluff with their dog, Will, and three horses that live down the road. They are very welcoming to all the visitors that cluster to their overlook to admire turkey vultures, red-tailed hawk, and bald eagles. It is a real treat to see such majestic birds from above in their natural environment.
What do we do?
Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center was originally funded by a grant to make mushroom production profitable to farmers. EB is now home to 12 naturalists fellows and more than 20 staff that work to create "healthy sustainable communities that value the natural world." ELC's throughout Minnesota teach state-recognized academic classes to students K-12, typically focusing on the middle school level. Classes are three hours in length with a third of class time spent in the classroom introducing and concluding curriculum and the other two-thirds spent outdoors. Full-time Naturalists and Naturalist Fellows (like myself) teach classes like Fungus Among Us, Insects, Pond Life, and Group Challenges. Eagle Bluff has three ropes courses for team and individual growth, as well as a rock climbing wall, archery range, and river for canoeing. When fellows are not teaching, we work as liaison for whatever school group is on campus. Our role as liaison is to facilitate the groups' extracurricular activities outside of class time.
The folks in the photo above are my co-workers, friends, and family. We live and work together everyday to make Eagle Bluff as awesome as it is. I have already learned so much from everyone's life experiences and our growth as a team. I welcome any questions you have about EB and will continue to provide updates on my own journey.
Goal for next week: first mountain bike race in Wisconsin.