Monday, October 17, 2011

Virginia Fall Workshop

The Virginia Fall Workshop was a great success and a lot of fun! We were fortunate to spend a beautiful weekend at Wilderness Adventures, October 14-15. The colorful leaves were at a peak and we had two warm, sunny days. Friday morning started off with sharing curriculum and meeting with a panel of partners from several Virginia trail maintaining clubs, the US Forest Service and Mountain Lake Conservancy. It was inspiring to hear the projects and activities some of the teachers had already done with their students and so exciting to hear everyone's plans for the future. A lot of great connections were made between the teachers and partners and they look forward to collaborating on their projects.
We moved the classroom outside and learned some new, fun Hip Pocket activities that are a great way to engage students in the natural world and don't require too much planning or supplies. Several of the teachers were having so much fun, they said it felt like they were playing hookie from school! We continued the afternoon with an informative presentation on Communications & Media lead by Matt and Courtney from Virginia Tech. They shared tips for getting our TTEC stories into the local media's hands and what makes it stand out. Pat Woods joined us to talk about turning in curriculum and answered questions about graduate credit. The rest of the evening was spent on working on curriculum and of course heading out to the zipline!

Saturday morning we were joined by Dustin Eshelman who lead us on a beautiful hike and introduced some really important Hike Leadership techniques and practices. Chip Donahue (TTEC Alum and Advisory Council member) joined us as well and shared some of his vast knowledge on hiking with youth. We learned some more activities as well as important safety precautions and planning tips that will be really useful when taking students out on the A.T.

We headed inside to grab lunch and talk about the what to look for during the TTEC Alumni Year in 2012. Everyone took their time in filling out the evaluations forms that will help us to continue to make this program the best it can be, which was much appreciated. We had a final silent hike out to the gazebo on the pond, looking up at the beautiful ridgeline where we had our closing ceremony and handed out certificates. We all lingered for awhile out on the pond, wishing we could stay longer! Thanks again to all of the teachers who have put so much time and energy into the Trail to Every Classroom program this year and to all of our wonderful partners who make this program possible. I look forward to seeing you all in 2012!

Check out more photos from our weekend here.

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North Carolina NCCAT participants

North Carolina NCCAT participants
At the Wayah Bald Fire Tower

Mary Jane

Mary Jane
On top of Silers Bald