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Over the river and through the woods, 37 students and parents traveled to Bledsoe to Pine Mountain Settlement School to participate in a comprehensive curriculum in environmental education. The program’s goals are to present environmental education as an integral part of all subjects; to provide an accurate interpretation of the mountain culture and natural environment through the use of historic material and hands-on experiences; to offer opportunities to study and understand the special nature of the Appalachian region; and to promote responsible stewardship of natural lands and waterways.
Teena Gamble, the coordinator of the gifted and talented program, said, “Students get hands-on experience of a taste from the past and a great review for our upcoming KCCT test.”
The rigorous schedule didn’t allow for boredom. This meant no cell phone, iPods, electronic games, etc. could be found. Students were up at 7 a.m. and didn’t retire until they had participated in a night hike, folk dancing, and storytelling.
Everyone was energized with the much-needed dose of vitamin D and fresh air, not to mention the three huge, home-cooked meals. It is a trip that will be etched in their minds for years to come.
Organizers would like to thank all the chaperones who took the time out of their busy schedules to participate in their child’s education. Each year a great group of parents are always eager to pitch in and do whatever is needed. They kept everyone laughing and added valuable information. For example, one parent brought attention to the “Wooly Moon,” better known as the “Super Moon,” which was viewed on Saturday night. Parent chaperones were: Susan Stowe, Melissa Cammack, Charlotte Hardin, Mike Lucas, Kevin Miller, Connie Shelton, Dana Gill, Eric Lozier, Mark McMillen and Rebecca Ogden.
“We bonded as a group as we learned and laughed,” said Gamble. Special thanks go to Michelle Heuser, the bus driver, for taking the group on a memorable trip; and the school system for allowing us to keep up such a wonderful educational trip.
Another chapter is closed on the yearly Pine Mountain experience. Many memories were made that will be cherished for years to come, and a more recent reminder will be felt in the many sore muscles and joints.