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Conserve School

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Environment, Environmental Education, Secondary & High Schools

Mission: Conserve School inspires young people to environmental stewardship through academics and engagement with the forests, lakes, and wildlife of Lowenwood. Conserve School is a non-sectarian school aimed at students who feel a strong attachment to the natural world and who are motivated to conserve it. This semester-long immersion in environmental studies and outdoor activities deepens students’ love of nature, reinforces their commitment to conservation, and equips them to take meaningful action as environmental stewards. The program interweaves college-preparatory academics with: the study of environmental history, nature literature, and the science of conservation, environmental service work, exploration of careers related to conservation, training in teamwork and leadership, and engagement with the outdoors. Designed primarily for high school juniors, Conserve School incorporates the flexibility to accommodate advanced sophomores. Conserve School students become part of a community that heightens their sense of identity and self-worth and imparts the confidence they need to go forward and make a difference, not only as stewards of the environment, but also as stewards of their own destinies.

Results: Conserve School has positively impacted the lives of 100's of students from across the United States. Conserve School has been accredited by the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), an accreditation division of AdvancED. Conserve School is a 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Awardee.

Target demographics: high school sophomores and juniors

Direct beneficiaries per year: 120 students.

Geographic areas served: United States

Programs: a semester school for high school students designed to inspire them to become environmental stewards while spending a sixteen weeks living and learning on our 1200 acre wilderness campus.

Community Stories

118 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

16 Tara45

Client Served

Rating: 5

Most amazing experience a passionate high-schooler can have. The teachers are caring and friendly, the classes interesting and focused, and the community feel is so welcoming and kind. This school changed me from a regular girl into an energetic young adult full of life, and willing to devote that life to environmental protection, finding sustainable and creative solutions for problems, and caring so much about the natural world. I thank Conserve so much for giving me the time of my life; and I highly recommend this school to any youngster who cares about the environment, wants to make a difference, and loves the natural world.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter is a student at Conserve, and the experience has far exceeded my expectations. The education, the opportunities, and the quality of the staff are exceptional. She has had such fun and grown so much ... I am so grateful Conserve exists.

3 Loring C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our sixteen year old daughter is currently a student at Conserve working on her junior year high school curriculum with a focus on the environment. She is absolutely loving her immersion experience at this boarding school. She is no stranger to environmental studies as all her academic schooling has followed this specialized focus. She reports to us that the caliber of teachers, the experiential classrooms and the dedication of the staff at Conserve is unparalleled. We rely on our daughter to report on the teachings of the school but as parents we can report that the school is very well run with an exceptional staff. All aspects of the school are top notch. We had never visited the school before we flew from CA to drop our daughter off, having applied on friends recommendations. Upon our arrival we were truly stunned at the beauty and care given to this place and the warmth and competency of all those who run the school. We think that this opportunity for students is an amazingly well kept secret that all should know about.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

Tremendous educational opportunity for high school students with abiding lessons about stewardship and leadership to serve them and their communities their whole lives long.

4 Stacy74

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has only been at Conserve School for a few weeks, but already she is developing a whole new outlook on nature, school and life in general. Conserve School provides an incredible, life-changing, transformative semester, and I'm thrilled that my daughter has the chance to participate in this amazing opportunity.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter started her semester at Conserve School a few weeks ago. This school offers an incredible opportunity for young people from all over the country to learn about environmental stewardship together with others who share their interests. Everything about the enrollment process has been handled with such care and thoughtfulness. It's very obvious that the faculty and staff are dedicated to the students and the mission of this school. I feel confident that this will be one of the most amazing experiences of her life. It already is.

5 Ed__46

Client Served

Rating: 5

Outstanding exceptional learning experience for high school Juniors. Changed my daughters life!

8 bosquegirl

Client Served

Rating: 5

This semester program changed my life! I spent possibly the best 4.5 months of my life there in 2013 as a sophomore in high school. At Conserve we were outside everyday in our classes and with friends in a beautiful wilderness setting. We had group projects and activities planned on weekends, like a trip to the Rhinelander goodwill or just mountain biking the trails on campus. The opportunities and experience you get there will leave you centered and full of ideas for the rest of high school or college! The community aspect is huge because you are living and learning with 60 other people who will become your family, and the fact that we have diverse interests but all looked at the environmental issues of our time with critical minds for solutions. 10/10 would recommend it for all 11th and 10th graders- let yourself live outside and surrounded by friends while learning a lot!

Previous Stories
11

Client Served

Rating: 5

Conserve School was completely and surely the best 16 weeks of high school. At Conserve School I felt like I wasn't wasting my time on my own education, I was learning useful stuff, and I was having a good time! I learned so much at Conserve School, and more than just math or science, I learned how to do wilderness first aid, and how to live with 60 other kids in the middle of nowhere, I learned how to make my own fun! If you have the chance to attend Conserve School do it, it will be incredible!

7 Ralph8

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son was selected to attend Conserve School this year, and my wife and I scoured the Internet looking at every review we could find. I'm a librarian, so I know a little about searching. We couldn't find a bad review. Not one. Our experience so far bears that out. The school is staffed by caring, compassionate people making the world a better place for all of us. As they say, "One semester can make a world of difference." Believe it!

6 Mollie5

Client Served

Rating: 5

Going to this school was the best decision I have ever made. The people I met and the things I learned there inspired me to continue to life in a sustainable, adventurous, and inspired way. I love Conserve School and I am so grateful to them for introducing me to people who will be in my life forever.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son was lucky enough to spend a semester at Conserve School. Highlights for him included engaging classwork; teachers, teaching fellows, students, and staff he came to care for deeply; and a lasting bond with the Northwoods. Guided and supported by a strong community, he learned so much during his time at Conserve--about himself and others as well as about academics and conservation. Conserve is an exceptional school created and nurtured by exceptional people.

5 Janna4

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son had a most amazing experience at the Conserve School! Truly a life changing journey for the kids... from the great teaching staff and exceptional curriculum to building camaraderie with other students and learning personal responsibility in a safe and supportive environment!

4 Mary456

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am so blessed that my daughter is having the opportunity to attend this school. The whole process has been wonderful from applying to attending.

4 Wendy154

Client Served

Rating: 5

Conserve School provides a unique opportunity for like minded students to be immersed in environmental studies blended with traditional subjects. Students spend a great deal of time in the outdoors on a beautiful campus that boasts incredible lakes, hardwood forests, and biking, hiking and skiing trails that the students explore during all of the seasons in the north woods. The friendly and knowledgeable teachers are dynamic and invested in making the most of the semester long experience they have with the students. I tell everyone I can about Conserve School, for us, this is the ideal way to educate a child!

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wish I could go back in time and be a teen just to attend this amazing school. My son had an amazing semester, learning and experiencing things that will stay with him his entire life.

6 Jill102

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Amazing opportunity for kids to be completely immersed in a nature/education setting.

7

Donor

Rating: 5

Amazing opportunties for all lucky enough to attend this one-of-a-kind semester school!

9 Cindi6

Client Served

Rating: 5

This school was a perfect fit for our son, a part of CS8. He made friends to last a lifetime, studied with teachers who are passionate and care about each student, and lived in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin. I talk about Conserve School with people every chance I get because every student should be so lucky!

12

Client Served

Rating: 5

Conserve school was the best thing that ever happened to me. It showed me that life is full of choices and opportunities, that I could do what I love and discover my passions. I met 59 wonderful friends from all over the country and learned things I could never learn in a regular school. Our classes consisted of experiencial learning on our enormous campus. I wouldn't trade my experience there for anything. I would highly recommend this school to any high schooler with a passion for the environment. The teachers are amazing and so are the students and the beautiful nature, of course!

11 Lizzie R.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Attending Conserve School was the best decision I've ever made, by far! The rare and amazing thing about Conserve is living and growing in a place where everyone shares common passions and curiosities. This allows Conserve to not only teach students to be environmental stewards, but stewards of themselves as well by providing an independent (yet supervised) lifestyle filled with positive-learning experiences. Here students can not only learn to love nature even more than they already do, but also learn important lessons about themselves and their relationships with others.

11

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Conserve School provided my daughter with the opportunity of a lifetime during CS9! The quality of instruction is stellar and the sense of community vibrant. Conserve's invaluable lessons in environmental stewardship are delivered in theory and practice through an inspiring and exhilarating blend of science, exploration, art, and reflection.

8

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Conserve School provides a world-class environmental education experience at a cost that is almost too low to believe (thanks to the generosity of their donors and trustees). They make learning fun, exciting, and effective for their students.

7 Lexi6

Client Served

Rating: 5

This school was one of the greatest experiences I could have wished for!

8

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Education as it was meant to be ... an experience for students that promotes deeper learning in one of the most beautiful settings on earth.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a student during CS9 and I had an amazing experience. I learned so much about conservation and got to meet a lot of amazing people. It's great to know that I have friends from all over the country and even in Germany from only 16 weeks. I would highly recommend going to this school if you love he outdoors and are interested in a non-traditional way of schooling!

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son was a student at Conserve school. Class CS8. I cannot say enough good things about this school. It changed my son's life for the better. Not only is the education top notch, but the social experience is invaluable. From day 1 , they encouraged the kids to be child-like not childish. They encourage and respect individuality, respect and love for the outdoors. I would encourage anyone with a child who likes to learn outside of the classroom, needs some independence, and wants to make life long friends, to apply to Conserve.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was one of the students from CS1 and I am so glad that I decided to go. Not only did the experience help me prepare for college life, but I also was encouraged to pursue a degree in Biology. Now I am a member of my college's chapter of Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society and I am proud to admit that conserve helped influence my academic interests. I would highly recommend Conserve School to high school students who love the outdoors.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

Conserve School takes the tinder inside smart, caring highschool students; and during one semester that tinder becomes a bonfire. They're saying, "One semester can make a world of difference," really is true. It changes the lives of the students who will then go on and change the world. Best opportunity ever.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

This experience changed my life and shaped me as a person. I am forever grateful.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

The best 4 months of my life. It changed the way I see myself and the world around me and opened my eyes to a new way of life.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

I knew Conserve would change me for the better, as soon as I arrived. Since returning home I have done great things that I would not have been able to do without the skills Conserve taught me, such as starting a composting program at my High School and improving my relationships with friends, family, and teachers. Conserve will always have a special place in my heart, for when I was there, I also learned how to love and be loved.

3

Client Served

Rating: 1

though conserve school offers a superb opportunity for highschoolers away from home for a semester, the support necessary for adolescents to thrive isn't available, and asking for help when dealing with stress isn't encouraged. Conserve has the potential to be incredible, but leaves out student voices and concerns when the semester is in session.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

Conserve School equipped me with the necessary tools to be an advocate for change by helping me to find my "wilderness voice."

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a student at Conserve a few semesters ago and I can't really put into words how much the experience meant to me. Many other people here have said this, but it did really change my life.

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

Conserve School is an amazing program I had the opportunity to attend. It opened my eyes to new experiences such as, kayaking, rock climbing, and wood chopping and opened my mind up to new perspectives shared by my peers. If given the chance I would wholeheartedly attend the program again and I would highly recommend Conserve School to anyone who is interested in learning not only about the environmental impact humans have on the earth but also about a sense of place and person.

10 Jeri Lynn R.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Conserve school not only does a great job teaching fundamentals but also teaching giving back to communities. Land O'Lakes is fortunate to have had the students help in many ways from putting up fall decorations to helping with events or just attending events. It has been a great boon to Land O'Lakes to have the Conserve school located in our community. Add that they are supports of our area non-profit arts education Land O'Lakes Area Artisans (LOLA).

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

One of the best semester school you could imagine, minus the fact that a semester is only sixteen weeks. Learning is super fun and engaging, with a strong environmental theme. A great place for any student to learn.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am an alum of the semester program at Conserve School, and could not recommend the organization more. The mission of fostering young environmental stewards is expertly and compassionately carried out by the qualified staff and administrators. I felt nurtured as a student, and had opportunities of a lifetime to adventure into the wilderness, deepen in my own relationship to nature, and learn from amazing teachers.

Conserve School broadened my horizons and changed my life. I hope to see it continuing its mission well into the future.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

Absolutely the best school I ever attended. It turned me from a self-serving city kid to a globally minded, environmentally conscious young adult. AMAZING teachers.

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a student at Conserve School in the fall of 2012. Attending Conserve was the best decision I've ever made! Over the four months I was there I learned incredible things from both teachers and students, had incredible experiences, and made many lasting friendships. Whether I was solo camping, hiking in the porcupine mountains, laying on the sledding hill, doing homework in the LAB, or sitting in class (which was often outside on the incredible campus) I loved every second of my time there and would absolutely recommend Conserve to any perspective student. Coming from a small public school I was incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to learn alongside such amazing peers! Having students and teaches who actually WANTED to be the and wanted to learn all of the things in the curriculum made all the difference in having a great experience and learning new things. On top of that, all of the students and teachers have had great experiences outside of school and there was always something interesting to hear or new to learn about those around you.

9

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our son recently attended the Spring semester. His experience was life changing. He left his sending private school with a very high GPA and very involved in high school sports and a very busy schedule for a complete change of pace and life in the north woods. As a sophomore, we worried he would be able to handle life on his own and manage his own schedule. He did that and more. The academics were challenging, but in such a unique way. Each day was an "experience" rather than just going to school. He couldn't wait to tell us about how they re-enacted whatever book they were reading, or about a science experiment or writing assignment. This in itself was such a change from his sending school where he rarely spoke about school in general. Here, he was excited to share his experiences. The staff became family and his new friends are truly life-long ones. He learned, matured and realized that he can be on his own and be successful and as a parent this is one of those prideful moments where you can look back and say you must have done something right. The experience changed his life and we can't recommend it enough!

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a student here and it was a life changing experience, people don't always realize what a major difference a place like this can have on a person. You meet so many new people and get to know them on a personal level, like family. The opportunities to give back to the local community and have a world wide impact on others is the best feeling in the world. There is nothing bad that could be said about Conserve School and I highly recommend considering this school.

9 Joseph25

Client Served

Rating: 5

Ours on had a life-defining experience here. It will lead him to be a conservation champion for the rest of his life. This is what a high school experience should include for all students. Learning to love to learn is not something everyone gets to do.

9 Jennifer339

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our 16 year old son just finished a semester at Conserve School. I can say without a doubt it was the best experience he could have had. I have nothing but great things to say about every aspect of the school, from the teachers, curriculum, dorms, cafeteria - you name it - they are fantastic. Our son came home a more mature, responsible and considerate person. They very much emphasize respect for everyone as well as nature. I know our son made life-long friends at Conserve. It was the absolute best experience I could have wished for him. I would encourage any child who is not challenged by a normal classroom to apply. I truly believe our son would have ended his education after high school if it wasn't for Conserve. Now he is very much looking toward the future. I can't thank this school enough! A+++

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

Conserve School (CS5 in 2012) was one of the best experiences of my entire highschool career. When I arrived at the school I was so very refreshed by all of the people who surrounded me. Because of my homeschooling background I was already accustomed to people thinking outside of the box, but the teachers and the students that I met at Conserve were above and beyond this. I felt so invigorated and inspired by the people around me. But while I believe that it's the people who make an experience the surrounding environment is not to be overlooked at all. I spent hours outside wandering around the lakes, sitting and talking, rolling down the sledding hill, taking pictures of the fall colors and the glistening ice on the lakes, reading in the climbing tree, stargazing at night, and so much more. Rolling out of bed in the morning to go to classes was totally worth it. EVERYTHING I did at Conserve was hands-on-feet-in and I loved every second, but it was the people I met. I still keep in touch with the friends I've made and I've even visited some of them!

The semester was indeed life changing according to the box that I just checked and that's an understatement. I can't imagine not experiencing the things that I did at Conserve. I wouldn't have it any other way.

10 Maeve D.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I decided to go to Conserve School because I wanted to have an adventure. The sweeping campus, with its middle-of-nowhere feel, glistening lakes, and soaring trees was connected by trails that could lead you anywhere. I spent most of my time falling asleep in bogs or running wildly over the single-track trails.
However, what really stands out about Conserve is the people, the people that come from all over and have so many different life experiences - yet have one thing in common : a loving open-mindedness. These people actually made me think - after being the smartest person in the room my whole freshman year, i now felt my mind being stimulated in so many exciting ways by people that were so much more clever than me.
Everyone asks how it was, and i always respond with ,"It changed my life."

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

Attending Conserve School was probably the best decision I have ever made. The experience made me more independent, outgoing, adventurous, inspired, and passionate about the environment. From start to finish, I had an incredible time - I wish I could go back, but I'm happy other students are having this opportunity. Conserve alums will always be connected in an unexplainable way that can only be described through experience. I recommend this to anyone who even remotely loves being outdoors, has a passion for conserving the environment, and wants to broaden his or her horizons.

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended Conserve School in the spring semester of my Sophomore year. It was an absolutely incredible experience. Before, I had barely any outdoor or wilderness experience. I had an incredible time learning wilderness skills, meeting new friends, and gaining self-confidence. I truly had a life-changing experience. I still keep in touch with all of my friends and trail partners, and I hope to run into them on the trail someday!

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

Conserve School melds encouragement of personal growth, an environmentally-focused education, and a great local to become comfortable with the wilderness. I attended Conserve in the spring of my junior year of high school. I arrived knowing some, but not much, about outdoor exploration. The Field Instruction class (for gym credit) taught me how to hang a bear bag, the importance of filtering water, and how to pack a frame backpack to protect your back and be able to fit everything you need. At the beginning of the semester, I was nervous about the prospect of going on camping solos-- 24 hours alone in the wilderness-- but after almost three months of preparation, I felt completely comfortable living on my own.

My favorite thing about Conserve School is that although it feels like we're just there to dance through the forest and sing songs, we were still able to receive the education we needed to progress our high school career. I learned a lot more than in the traditional setting of my local high school, and I enjoyed learning more. The topics we covered were interesting and applicable. It never felt like I was wasting my time when I was in class.

The friends I made at Conserve are the closest and best friends I've ever had. I was able to grow at Conserve, and the family I made there was able to grow with me. Leaving campus after graduation on the last day was so hard. But now, I had friends across the US, and the friendships I made will last me the rest of my life.

One semester really can make a world of difference in the Northwoods. I can't recommend it enough.