The Keewaydin Environmental Education Center (KEEC) is a fabulous place situated on Lake Dunmore, at the base of Mount Moosalamoo, part of the Green Mountains of Vermont.

CELC utilizes a thematic teaching approach and incorporates travel into our experiential curriculum.  Our theme of Ecology and Sustainability for this 2013-14 academic year included a beginning-of-the-year field experience during a week at KEEC.

The week spent at Keewaydin introduced this theme by immersing us in the study of environmental education.  Students took part in a variety of investigations, led by educators at KEEC, relating to the environment, human impact, and sustainability.  In addition, students were responsible for jobs such as “hoppers” who helped deliver food to the table, dishwashers, composters, and recyclers.  Meals were home-cooked and served family style, incorporating manners and conversation – a fine way to build and strengthen community.

Here are some journal impressions from the students:

Camping with CELC was so much fun.  I had such a good time with my friends and the counselors.  Canoeing on Lake Dunmore was the most fun of all. I had a great time being in the stern of the boat.  We got first place in the race!  Our cabin was nice and cozy at night, and all of our gear fit right on top of the bunk beds.  Overall, I had one of the best cabin experiences ever.  I also loved the hike to General’s Lookout.  Even though it was strenuous, we made it to the top!  The view was incredible from there – we could see most of Lake Dunmore.  The “mystery investigation” was really cool.  We hiked along a waterway and found rungs where wooden pipe used to be.  The pipe led to a big water wheel, which turned toward a 33-foot x 10-foot bellows that stoked an enormous iron oven.  This type of oven was called a “pig oven” because the hot molten iron would come seeping into depressions in the ground floor dirt, which looked like a sow and her piglets.           –Luke


At first I thought that KEEC would be a boring camp.  When I left, I was almost in tears I loved it so much.  Even though I am going to high school next year and won’t be with CELC anymore, I am coming back with them to learn new things.  A discovery I made about myself was that I love Frisbee, and I’m really good at it.    — Cole


Overall, I thought that KEEC was a very good week in terms of our bonding as a group.  Coming into this week, I didn’t know what to expect so I came into it with an open mind.  I learned that our generation and the coming generations need to take care of the earth so we preserve the natural beauty that it provides us with.        — Bryce


I thought KEEC was going to be like Hulbert Outdoor Center, and it was similar.  KEEC was awesome and we learned all about tree lots, recycling, hiking, and we even hiked ten miles.     — Jakob


I felt at the end of the week more intertwined with nature and wilderness.  I thought this week was going to be boring, but I enjoyed it a lot.  I learned a lot about trees and how to find out their price in board feet.  I learned about an old iron mill and how it worked and how hard of a job that would have been.       — Nolan


I didn’t know what KEEC was going to be like.  At first I thought it might be boring, but it was fun and exciting.  I really enjoyed the investigations because they were very fun and well put together.  The week flew by very fast, and I was sad when we had to go.  I would go next year if I have the chance.  The only bad thing is that I got blisters on my right foot.    — Cade


I wish that we could have stayed longer at Keewaydin.  The week went by so fast!  Even though the week went by fast, I learned a lot.  I never knew the scientific terms for landforms and glaciers, or that the trails up Mount Moosalamoo had such great views.  I used up practically both cameras on the first day.  Also, I really loved the night hikes.  I usually don’t get to do things like being blindfolded and trying to notice where I am.  I have definitely come away from experiencing night hikes with more than I had before.  I really hope we can go back next year!         — Sue


At KEEC I learned a variety of ways to understand how decisions are made in the world that relate to caring for the environment and how a town government can help the environment.  I learned about hydroelectric power, and how dams work to create reservoirs and how the penstock (water pipe) carries water to the hydroelectric plant to create electricity.  I was expecting to learn about what we can do to help the environment, but not what the government does to help.  It now feels good to know that other people care about how we can help the environment.           — Anton


KEEC has changed me because I am now closer to my classmates.  I have learned about sustainability, and I am more confident in myself.         — Sophie

I love being outside in nature and enjoying many of the activities at KEEC.  The views in particular were remarkable.  The views are like when you look down in Google Maps and are like, “whoa, that’s how small we really are?” It’s like that, but better because I was actually there.  It was AWESOME!      — Joshua