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Students learn survival skills

Jerrald Witt (far left) and Kaleb Helberg (far right), 6th graders from St. Agnes School, work on their survival skills by making an outdoor fire. (Contributed) 1 / 5
Noah Wallace, a 6th grade student from St. Agnes School, enjoys the great outdoors of Northern Minnesota, even during a blizzard. (Contributed)2 / 5
Two St. Agnes students practice their compass skills at Long Lake Conservation Center. (Contributed)3 / 5
Ellie Bock, a 5th grade student from St. Agnes School, makes a snow angel. (Contributed)4 / 5
At the Long Lake Conservation Center, Brock Miller, a 5th grader at St. Agnes School, touches a massasauga, a snake that lives in southern Minnesota. (Contributed)5 / 5

Editor's note: As a class project, students in Barb Peterson's class at St. Agnes School wrote the following story.

The 5th and 6th grade students of St. Agnes School left school Feb. 6 and traveled to Aitkin County to the Long Lake Conservation Center for three days and two nights. The objective of the center is to help people explore the outdoors and help people connect to nature.

On the first day, students checked in, had orientation, and then lunch. All the students then went to their first event. Some of the groups had to build a shelter because a "yeti" was coming to attack. The shelters of some of the kids weren't built very well and a lot of snow got in.

Another group did cross country skiing. Zackery Bruder said, "It is much harder compared to downhill skiing and I suggest you try it."

The students had many favorite things about the Long Lake camping trip. Kaleb Helberg said, "My favorite events were the orienteering race and the game, Thicket." The orienteering race started with the students in the kitchen and they all had to run into the forest and use a compass to get their card stamped on small wooden posts. When they completed the course, the teams ran back to the snake lab.

When the students played Thicket, it was like hide and seek to camouflage themselves in the woods. The final part of the game was to hide and tag, and if you got tagged, you became a "wolf" and helped the "wolves" hunt the "deer."

Fire building

On the second day, groups participated in fire building exercises. Groups were given an example of what to do, then they were given some birchwood and they had to make a fire.

Noah Wallace said, "We were building a fire in a small blizzard by using the environment around us."

When the groups had their fires started, cold hot chocolate and marshmallows were handed out to warm up and cook over the fire. Kaleb Helberg said, "After we found our spot, we packed down the snow and got some thin sticks to make a teepee and start the fire. After it was started we went to get more wood and found a birch tree and made the fire about 3 feet tall."

Overall, the students thought this trip was amazing.