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Chance Adams, a social studies teacher at TrekNorth, tries his best to walk through knee-deep mud in an attempt to make it upstream with his team. Staff at TrekNorth finished a week of in-service training with a day of outdoor team-building adventures at the Neilson Spearhead Center, a nature preserve owned and managed by the Mississippi Headwaters Audubon Society. Pioneer Photo/Anne Williams

TrekNorth Junior and Senior High School: Practicing what they preach

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Staff from TrekNorth finished a week of in-service training with a day of outdoor adventure Thursday.

The group of spent the afternoon playing in the water, mud and forests at the Neilson Spearhead Center, a 460-acre nature sanctuary owned and managed by the Mississippi Headwaters Audubon Society.

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TrekNorth director Dan McKeon set up five adventure missions for the 24 staff who focused on team building. Tasks included snorkeling, a race up a muddy creek, a canoe rescue mission, fire building, and plant identification.

"I call it a 'last-day expedition' for the staff to have fun after a week of hard work in the classroom," said McKeon.

The staff was split into five teams and given a list of missions around the NSC to accomplish.

At the wild edible station, groups had 45 minutes to identify things found in the woods that would be of resource to human survival. At another area, teams were asked to boil three cups of water by making a fire using a spark thrower and a hatchet.

Five times in a row McKeon had to paddle a canoe out to the middle of the lake and tip over so each group would "save" him and put him back safely into his canoe.

The most unusual event was the "river stomp," which required teams to run up a meandering muddy creek in an attempt to find specimens like crayfish and squid brought over from the TrekNorth science lab. The lab creatures were hidden along the creek previous to the staff's arrival.

"It's really cool," said Chance Adams, social studies teacher. "Many times we do a lot for the students outside of school, so a day like this is a way for the school to give back to the staff."

Business Manager Kari Munson said, "Dan (McKeon) told us this was our chance to practice going beyond our own comfort level first before we encourage students to do the same."

Students at TrekNorth are encouraged to challenge themselves by taking Advanced Placement courses and participating in physically active outdoor adventure trips throughout their high school experience.

awilliams@bemidjipioneer.com

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