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NORTHLAND CULTURE MEANS OUTDOOR EXPERIENCES

Written by ESLI
Published on 2017-05-17
When students come to the USA, they often say that in addition to getting a good education, they want to make American friends and learn about American culture. What people often don't realize is that there are many different sub-cultures within the overall American cultural umbrella. We try hard to share with students theparticular culture of our area - the northern Great Lakes region commonly called the Northland.




One important element of the Northland is the beautiful lakes and forests of the area, and one part of our culture is outdoor activities - summer or winter, fall or spring, there are always things to do out in nature. And a little fresh air and sunshine is a great refreshment after heavy study.


To explore the outdoors, every semester, we plan a field trip focused on a different activity. For our spring field trip last week, we took all our students up to Gooseberry Falls State Park, on the north shore of Lake Superior. The park naturalist took us on a tour, explaining the history of the park and the formation of the spectacular waterfalls. We looked for Lake Superior agates and skipped rocks in the Gooseberry River.


Then we had a picnic down by the shore of Lake Superior, fed the seagulls, and built a fire in a fire pit to roast marshmallows for s'mores.
As every Northerner learns growing up here, if you plan to spend the day outside, you need to dress in layers. That way, you can take off a layer if you are too warm, or add on a layer if you are cold. It was a good rule to remember last week. The weather report predicted 65˚Farenheit, but it only got up to 45˚, and the wind off the lake was cold! The students were really happy to have a campfire for warmth.
For an outdoor activity during the summer term, we take the students canoeing on one of the many beautiful rivers in northern Wisconsin. Last summer, we canoed the Namekagon.Students learned to paddle a canoe andhow not to tip their canoes over. The heron, blackbirds, and dragonflies feeding in or over the river just added to the fun.





UWS is lucky to have a program called Superior Adventures which organizes many outdoor activities for students. Students attending in the summer can try kayaking on St. Louis Bay during Community Paddle evenings. Because we are so far north (latitude 46.7˚), the sun doesn't set in the summer until almost 9 p.m., so there's plenty of time for a paddle after classes.


For our last autumn field trip, we visited the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center to learn about the history of Wisconsin, and then we went to an orchard to pick apples. Students got to try three or four varieties of apples, and then pick the ones they liked and bring home a bag to eat.
For the winter season, we encourage students to take advantage of the skiing and skating opportunities offered by Superior Adventures. There is a fine ski hill just across the bridge, and Superior Adventures arranged a ski bus every week in February.


For our last autumn field trip, we visited the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center to learn about the history of Wisconsin, and then we went to an orchard to pick apples. Students got to try three or four varieties of apples, and then pick the ones they liked and bring home a bag to eat.

ESLI sites SIUE, SU, UMD, UWS, WTA&M, and WKU are accredited by CEA