Wesleyan College's Arboretum is 104 acres of mixed pine and hardwood forest that lends itself as spectacular setting for a week's worth of experiential learning activities focused on the human-nature connection. Last week, students, faculty, and staff participated in Wolves in the Woods, a compilation of nature inspired events created and curated by Wesleyan faculty.
Led by Dr. Patrick Pritchard, Director of Wesleyan's Center for Educational Renewal, the Wolves in the Woods activities were designed for students to share food, enjoy music and storytelling, and connect with nature. "We wanted something that gave students opportunities to learn something about the human-nature connection in small group settings that was more celebratory rather than instructive." said Pritchard.
A wide variety of activities were offered including Cups of Conversation, a speed friending event hosted by Wesleyan resident artist Jeni Hansen Gard and Dr. Pritchard's EDS 114 class, a "spirit of the woods" grounding ritual around the fire pit outside Anderson Cabin followed by a sing-along led by Dr. Pritchard and guest musicians Charlie Thomas and Nina Talon of local blue grass/Americana band Blue Sky Blue.
The activities were enjoyed by students, staff, faculty and Wesleyan President, Dr. Vivia Fowler. "I'm so glad I went to the Wolves in the Woods events. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience!" said first year student, Rungano Nyamayedenga.
The concept behind Wolves in the Woods came about a few years ago from the College's Arboretum committee after Wesleyan's Pioneer Fest was moved from October to January. "The first Wolves in the Woods was successful enough that we thought we'd try it again. One of the best things about the event this year is the number of faculty who have shared their gifts and enthusiasm for getting students to think about and interact with the natural world and more experiential ways of understanding nature." said Pritchard.
Wolves in the Wolves concluded last Saturday with a mushroom foraging experience, a Woofs in the Woods group dog walk, and a Dutch Oven cook out.