The Wilderness Classroom, consisting of Dave and Amy Freeman, pushed off on May 9 from Grand Portage, Minnesota on Lake Superior for stage 5 of their North American Odyssey. Each stage of the expedition is an odyssey in of itself. This portion has the Freemans kayaking the north shore of Lake Superior along the ancient fur trading routes to Montreal.
They are scheduled to arrive in Montreal in July. This portion of the epic trip is 1,300 miles. That is nothing for the Freemans as they have already kayaked up the Northwest Passage from Seattle to Skagway, Alaska. Then they hiked, dogsledded, and canoed through Canada’s immense and rugged Northwest Territories south through Alberta, Manitoba, and finally Ontario to Grand Portage.
What an adventure already and they still have 1,300 miles of kayaking to Montreal. Montreal is not the end though as they will continue down the Eastern Seaboard all the way to Key West, where they plan to finish on Earth Day in 2013, three years after the adventure began.
Dave and Amy are not just swash buckling adventurers looking for glory. Their journey has an important purpose. They are educating the youth (and adults too) on the need to preserve our wild places and to keep our waterways clean.
In between the stages of the North American Odyssey, they give assemblies to elementary students on their trip. They also participate in other important conservation work like trying to stop the sulfide mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
Dave and Amy are based out of the Chicago suburb of Western Springs, Illinois and a majority of the students that are following Dave and Amy come from the Chicago and surrounding area. They also do their assemblies on the trip every time they come in contact with civilization.
The students who sign up for the assemblies can then follow them on their website, which designs problem solving dilemmas for the kids to figure out. The children are also asked to participate on the journey. Dave and Amy sometimes give their followers a voice on which route they take or similar decisions like on whether to take the popular dog Fennel along in the canoe.
Of course the kids choose to have them bring along Fennel. Fennel is also a peer of mine as the dog has his own blog.
Here is the latest press release from the Wilderness Classroom:
WILDERNESS CLASSROOM BEGINS STAGE FIVE OF NORTH AMERICAN ODYSSEY
Grand Portage, MN- Wilderness Classroom Leaders Dave and Amy Freeman will embark on Stage 5 of the North American Odyssey when they push off by kayak on May 9th, 2012 from Grand Portage, Minnesota on Lake Superior. Stage 5 will take them along the North Shore of Lake Superior and then follow the historic fur trading routes to Montreal, where after 1300 miles of paddling they will arrive around July 1st. They will make periodic visits to settlements along the way and are available for media interviews and presentations. Expedition photos and video are also available.
Dave and Amy will not be alone on their journey . . . Students, teachers, and learners of all ages will participate daily in the live expedition as photos, videos, and text are posted to www.NorthAmericanOdyssey.com via satellite. Students can communicate with the expedition team through email, online polls, and live chats. These interactive features give students the power to help make day-to-day decisions for the team and learn about the ecosystems of North America.
About The Wilderness Classroom
The Wilderness Classroom started with a simple idea: to improve students' core academic skills and appreciation for the environment by introducing elementary and middle school students to the wonders of exploration and wilderness travel.
Eight years and ten expeditions later, the Wilderness Classroom is a 501(c) 3 that reaches over 1,600 teachers and 60,000 students around the globe.
Our mission has never changed. We seek to instill a lifelong appreciation of the natural world while improving basic skills like reading, critical thinking, and communication by highlighting the joy of discovery.
Since it is usually unfeasible to load a classroom of 4th grade students onto a plane and fly them to remote locations, we use a combination of interactive internet-based learning tools on our website www.wildernessclassroom.com, teacher training, and live school programs to accomplish our mission.
About The North American Odyssey
On Earth Day (April 22) of 2010 Dave and Amy Freeman began a three year, 11,700-mile journey across North America by kayak, canoe, and dogsled. Their goal is to use their journey as a platform for gaining support and protection for North America’s waterways and wild places, while actively engaging over 100,000 elementary and middle school students in their journey though the website and live school assemblies.
“We want to educate people about the importance of making healthy choices that simplify life, reduce your global footprint, and provide quality time for friends, family, and outdoor pursuits. We hope to inspire people to make lifestyle changes that are environmentally sound and improve quality of life,” explained Dave.
Their odyssey began by kayak on the Pacific Coast studying temperate rainforests and marine life of the Pacific Northwest, but this was just the first in a series of six stages on their quest to highlight North America’s wildest places.
After kayaking 1,400 miles from Seattle, Washington to Skagway, Alaska, the team progressed over the history-studded mountains in the footsteps of the Klondike Gold Rush, to the home of Inuit along the Arctic Ocean where polar bears roam. From the Arctic Ocean they traveled by dog sled and canoe south through central Canada. Stage 5 involves kayaking across the Great Lakes and following the historic fur-trading route. Stage 6 will take them out to the ocean following the annual whale migration past the salt marshes and sea turtles of the Atlantic Coast, finishing in the mangroves and coral reefs of the Florida Keys in April of 2013.
Through lesson plansand daily Web updates, elementary and middle school students learn alongside the explorers through www.wildernessclassroom.comand adults can follow their progress through www.NorthAmericanOdyssey.com.
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