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Nature and conservation central to Baraboo trip

The park has such a rich geologic history, and it's great for our students to get a chance to 'see' that history up close. Thomas "Mac" McFeely Science Teacher

The seventh-graders at Chicago City Day School recently completed an overnight trip to Baraboo, WI, where they studied the ancient rock formations at Devil's Lake State Park and conservation at the Aldo Leopold Foundation. It was the second trip to Baraboo that City Day students took this year; the eighth-graders went in the fall.

The weather during the seventh-grade trip, which took place May 2-3, was a bit cold and soggy, but students said they enjoyed exploring the natural areas in Baraboo.

Devil's Lake is home to one of the oldest outcroppings of rock in the world, with some dating back 1.7 billion years, said City Day science teacher Thomas "Mac" McFeely. He and the students went on a 3-mile hike around the park to observe the rock formations.

"The park has such a rich geologic history, and it's great for our students to get a chance to 'see' that history up close," he said. 

Students also visited the Aldo Leopold Foundation, where they explored the Leopold family's "shack" and learned about how and why the organization has conserved roughly 600 acres of prairies, pines, and floodplain land. City Day students read Aldo Leopold's collection of essays, A Sand County Almanac, as part of the seventh-grade reading curriculum — an example of how academic subjects work together at City Day.

Finally, the trip included a visit to the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, where students learned about the organization's efforts to preserve habitats around the world for all 15 species of cranes. 

The trip to Baraboo has long been a part of the seventh-grade curriculum. Last year's trip was canceled due to COVID-related safety concerns, so the school arranged for current eighth-graders to go in the fall.

The trip is one of many immersive travel opportunities the school provides students. In addition to giving students a vivid look at the scientific underpinnings of environmental issues, the Baraboo trip is also a fun bonding experience for students and teachers alike. 

See photos from both trips below. 

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