This September, Learning Center 6th – 8th grade students embarked on a two night, three day camping trip to explore Cherokee history and the great outdoors. While camping in the Smokemont area of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, students explored the area in a variety of different ways. At the Learning Center, we believe in hands-on education, and there is no better way for our students to learn than to venture out and spark their curiosity.
The wonderful folks at Smokemont Stables led Learning Center students and staff on a four-mile horseback ride through a wooded trail. Students learned about local flora and fauna from helpful and knowledgeable guides. Students were taught the basics of safely riding horseback while exploring the incredible biodiversity of our mountains.
While at camp, students adventured around the Bradley Fork Creek, hiking, wading, looking for signs of insect and animal life, inspecting plants of all kinds, and learning to fly fish. In camp, students were taught leave-no-trace ethics and pitched in to set up camp and maintain a safe, clean, and happy community.
The group ventured out of camp to explore Cherokee and the many educational opportunities it offers. They toured the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, taking in a fascinating history of the tribe from pre-history to the modern era. Students also perused the Qualla Arts & Crafts Center, seeing a variety of local crafts made by Cherokee artisans. The Cherokee visit culminated in a traditional Cherokee-style meal of bean bread and roasted chicken with the fixings, served at the museum.
Our students were also able to take in the history of the pioneer settlers that lived in the area that became the National Park. The Ocunaluftee Visitors Center features a variety of structures that exemplify the types of humble homesteads that dotted these mountains. From the blacksmith shop, to the pig pens, to the dove-tailed log cabins, Leanring Center students got a slice of local history first-hand.
Learning Center students take a camping trip at least once a year. We know that the great outdoors is a great learning experience and we love to see our students get excited about exploring the world around them. Find out more at www.naturallygrownkids.org/what-makes-us-different.