Sunship III is a comprehensive environmental science program geared to 7th graders. The on-site portion of the program lasts three days and two nights at the Sunship Study Station, a natural outdoor setting at T.R.E.E.’s Outdoor Classroom just west of Covington. The Sunship III staff, group counselors, and classroom teacher combine efforts to provide a dynamic, effective learning experience. The student extends this program back at home, school, and in the larger community by implementing a personal plan to visit people and places that are successfully applying the environmental concepts introduced at camp. Sunship III is a beginning unit rather than a culminating one.
Sunship III helps students understand their use of energy and materials and the interrelationships of our ecological systems through exploration and discovery of how and where we live. Students learn about our home, the third planet from the sun, with the understanding that, as young adults, they will be making more and more decisions for themselves, and some of the most important decisions they make will be about their use of energy and materials and how they will relate with other life that share this “sunship” with them. Everything participants do during the program focuses on two things: perceptions and choices; seeing things in a new way and examining alternative choices for a less consumptive lifestyle. In addition, throughout the program students learn to appreciate the richness and beauty of our planet through first-hand contact.
The following are some important points you’ll want to know:
Sunship III has been run by T.R.E.E. for the past 6 years. Over 170 New Orleans area school students have attended. The staff is highly trained, caring and committed.
A minimum of 8 adults supervise the class of approximately 25 students. Students are NEVER without supervision.
The class is divided into groups by the teacher and each group is supervised by one of the school’s adult chaperones. The students receive direct instruction from T.R.E.E. staff who provides for personal, quality learning for each child.
The remainder of the time (meals, concept integration activities, campfire, crafts, etc.) is spent as a whole class group.
The school provides a qualified person to give medications. A hospital is only 5 minutes from camp.
Students live in dormitory-type buildings. Boys and male chaperones from the school sleep on one side; girls and female chaperones from the school sleep on the other. A cinder block dividing wall and separate bathrooms are between the two sides.
Participants are fed by T.R.E.E. staff. Meals are tailored to fit adolescents’ eating habits while still being nutritious and accommodating various eating styles (vegetarian). Snacks are provided throughout the day.
The cost of the program includes EVERYTHING! (Included in the cost is bus, insurance, camping fees, wholesome meals, snacks, all supplies for activities and crafts, and a staff of 1 adult for every 4 children.
The three days at the Sunship III Study Station are very busy. Each day is filled with a full schedule of exciting, educational, hands-on learning experiences.
Each activity falls into one of three categories. The following are brief descriptions of the categories and activities.
Discover the Systems of Life
All students participate in this activity as they travel through the solar system and end up at “Mario’s Pizza Parlor” in Solarville. As they create their own pizza for supper, they discover the real and hidden costs of such an undertaking. (Energy Flow)
At the Cycle Factory, each student will work a shift to operate the cycles of life – Air, Water, and Soil. (Cycles)
A visit to the old Temple of Sol will reveal how everything on this Sunship is connected. (Interrelationships)
A long forgotten museum exhibit chronicling a natural area’s past arrives at the center. Students set up the various museum crates that represent the different Sections Of Life that have existed at the center and how they have changed over time. (Change)
Explore the Sections of Life
Search a gallery for a special natural object – an “Objet Trouve”, to borrow for a unique indoor exhibit.
Each day, time is set aside for solitude. Students locate their own Magic Spots that they will return to throughout the time at the Study Station. Magic Spot time provides the opportunity for each child to develop an easy, quiet, relationship with one particular natural space. At these times, they will use their Log Books, which contain specially designed activities.
Decide the Styles of Life
During Sharing Circles students will process and discuss thoughts about their learning and experiences.
At the Lifestyle Analysis, students discuss making wise choices regarding their use of energy and materials, how these choices affect other life on Earth, and then record the days “expenses” in their Ledgers.