Eagle Bluff: Pacelli students ‘Discover What’s in Your Nature!’

Published 10:11 am Saturday, April 20, 2019

By Laura Sheedy

Pacelli student activities and junior high math teacher

In the spring of each year, as part of our school curriculum, the Pacelli Catholic School  6-8th grade students and adult chaperones go to Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center for three days. The staff at Eagle Bluff conducts classes that use teamwork and problem solving skills to teach students.

Email newsletter signup

The classes emphasize the importance of environmental awareness and promote outdoor experiences to involve the students. Living in a dorm like setting also helps students learn from and with each other in a different setting than the normal school building.

Pacelli students take part in all that Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center has to offer. Photo provided

Most classes start with an indoor introduction, move to the outdoors for about two hours, and then finish indoors with a summary and question time. The classes promote working in nature and using scientific thought processes. This year students learned about Karst Geology, tested the water in the Root River and learned how to identify different species of trees in the woods around Eagle Bluff’s campus.

In addition to nature classes, the schedule each year provides that the 6th grade have group challenges, which gives them a chance to work together creatively to solve a physical problem. The seventh grade use the indoor rock wall to challenge themselves and think about goal setting. The ropes course provides challenges and mentally pushes the eighth graders. There are also evening programs; this year students learned about different animals from Backyard Buttercup and about the stars in the inflatable Star Lab.

As an extension to the outdoor classes, the students are asked to become good stewards of their indoor and outdoor environments. All students become an important part of keeping their indoor rooms clean and environmentally friendly. At meal time the students are asked to take what they want to eat and eat everything that they take.

The Pacelli Middle Schoolers have won the Golden Clean Plate Award for the past 10 years in a row by eating all of the food from their trays. They have also won the Eagle Eye Award for keeping their indoor and outdoor areas clean, being responsible stewards by turning off lights and water, and closing windows when leaving the dorms.

As students venture outdoors for class, they are encouraged to look out for trash to earn points toward the Eagle Eye Award. This year’s largest finds were a plastic garbage top and a plastic sign. We are still looking to top the tire in the river from two years ago. The students are taught how to be good conservationists while making them aware of their surroundings.

If you would like to see other Eagle Bluff programs first hand, there are summer classes and family activities scheduled throughout the year.  Eagle Bluff is a field trip the Pacelli middle school students look forward to each spring.

If you are interested in learning more about Pacelli Catholic Schools, please visit our website at www.pacellischools.org or email admin@pacellischools.org or call 507-437-3278 anytime during regular school hours.