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TCCS schooled in the great outdoors

Photo submitted to Times Observer TCCS Students at the recent expeditionary project on Camping and the Great Outdoors.

From learning about the history of Tidioute to the long-term impacts of garbage and getting some of that garbage out of the Allegheny River, there are many different aspects to the Tidioute Community Charter School expeditionary project — Camping and the Great Outdoors.

“We are exploring our local region and teaching students about life skills,” Officer Manager Heath Cass said. “Some of our projects are map reading, geocaching, forest fire safety, survival skills, catch and release of local wildlife, first aid and purifying water. Students will learn through projects, stories, and statistical data in the outdoors.”

Guest speakers at a recent event in the expeditionary project included Game Warden Matt Savinda, Field Forester Shane Brenneman, and Regional Wildlife Diversity Biologist Stacy Wolbert, all of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tionesta Dam Park Ranger Dalton Silvis, and Carly Moore of Chapman State Park.

Brenneman introduced information about fires and firefighting on a forest.

“We learned about how the Pennsylvania Game commission fights forest fires and takes care of our forests,” Cass said. “Students got to view some of the equipment used by them to keep our woods healthy and safe.”

Photo submitted to Times Observer Game Warden Matt Savinda speaks at the recent TCCS expeditionary project.

Savinda showed students how to build a shelter out of a tarp and other supplies in the absence of a tent and otherwise more comfortably spend time in the wild without commercial comforts.

Third grader Parker Robertson enjoyed learning about making a bed out of sticks.

“I loved learning how to survive in the wild,” third grader Ethan Patterson said.

Wolbert introduced students to the sounds made by animals in the region. She also brought pelts of different animals that the students could see and touch — Wyatt Birt-Nash’s favorite part.

Students learned about water safety, including personal flotation devices, from Silvis.

Photo submitted to Times Observer Regional Wildlife Diversity Biologist Stacy Wolbert, speaks at the recent TCCS expeditionary project.

“I like that we tried on life jackets to see what size fits,” Adriana Walters said.

Many students, like Carl Durlin, were not aware how long daily garbage hangs around in the environment.

From Moore, “students learned about keeping our environment clean,” Cass said. “They discussed leaving no trace and cleaning up all garbage in their area when camping. They also played a matching game to learn how long things take to disintegrate in nature.”

“I was surprised at how long it takes for garbage to disintegrate,” Durlin said.

The school wrapped up that expeditionary project on Friday with a bonfire.

Future projects will include world holidays, weather forecasting, budgeting and entrepreneurship, and a college, career, and military fair.