This story originally appeared in the fall 2013 Harker Quarterly.
Middle school science teachers Ben Morgensen and Daniel Sommer accompanied 18 students from grades 6-8 on a trip across the bay to Point Reyes National Seashore for a five-day trip of hiking, camping and cooking. All of the students were required to bring and carry their own supplies as well as make their own food.
“That is the only way to get stuff into the wilderness,” Sommer said, pointing out that roughing it had the added benefit of teaching the students to be independent and gave them a glimpse of what it was like to be an experienced outdoor explorer. During the course of the 16-mile hike, the students worked on their camping skills, learned how to navigate through their surroundings by reading maps, set up their own tents, worked on their communication skills and prepared food such as quesadillas and pasta. Some additional excitement arrived in the form of a wind storm that damaged two tents!
The students of course also enjoyed playing on the beach at Point Reyes, experiencing the great outdoors with their friends and taking on new challenges that taught new ways of collaboration.