Students learn about Lake Tahoe

By: Steve Barbaccia
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Last week a joint 4-day, 3-night retreat brought together the sixth graders of St. Joseph's (Auburn) and Holy Trinity (El Dorado Hills) at the Galilee Episcopal Camp and Retreat Center on the south eastern shore of Lake Tahoe. Young adult counselors working for the Great Basin Institute – an organization that promotes environmental research, education and conservation – led the 6th graders in a series of activities aimed at increasing the students’ awareness of their connection to the environment.  A teacher from each school and parents acted as chaperones and helped with the activities.


The Great Basin counselors engaged the children with bird watching, a nature hike around Spooner Lake, a trip across Lake Tahoe on a research vessel, and several-team building games at the camp. In addition to having lots of fun, the kids learned valuable lessons about the Tahoe ecosystem and the importance of conservation.  At the end of each meal, all food waste was weighed and announced with the goal of reducing that amount over the course of the week.


When asked before leaving to name her favorite activity, sixth grader Olivia Huerta of Holy Trinity said "I really liked learning about nocturnal animals on our night hike, but my favorite part was making new friends with the kids from St. Josephs."  One of Olivia's classmates Mark Gebhardt added that he enjoyed "the way we were allowed to come up with our own ideas for a skit and games that taught us about nature."  


This is the fourth year that the two schools have held a joint nature retreat at Camp Galilee.   The annual tradition allows the children to make new friends, unplug from devices and experience Tahoe in new ways.