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MAR. 26, 2014

Talking Philosophically

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Weekends at OA can look a little wild. When we are on campus (about 4 or 5 weekends a semester), we could be doing anything from building stoves out of soda cans, mapping our woods, playing guitar in the sunshine, or an intense trail run. A couple of weekends ago, we had a bit of time for what we like to call Sense of Place skills. Again, this could vary from baking bread to writing poetry to rock climbing. Our offerings this particular Saturday included needle felting, climbing on the tower, and my personal project, “Talkin’ about stuff.”

Semester 38 has a philosophical mind. The students are motivated by problems they are made aware of and really love to dig into an idea. We’ve done a couple of other philosophy-based activities and students keep asking for more. But on this sunny afternoon, as I described the activity I was offering, I quickly began to doubt whether or not I would get a single student to follow me inside towards the whiteboard. Four did. This is something of a landslide victory for philosophy, which might be described by high school students as the least interesting subject in existence.

The five of us proceeded to discuss this quote:

“Your genes do not belong to you, your genes belong to humanity.”

And the discussion moved me. Emotionally, I mean. As I listened to the students’ focus and insight, their ability to bring in sources from their science, English and environmental seminar classes with precision and clarity, I become so proud. Everyday now I continue to be so grateful to work and live in an environment where learning is loved and respected as it is here. Give thanks, OA.

Beth Daviess
Resident Wilderness Educator