What is the Purpose of Wild Places?
A Language Arts/P.E. writing and fitness contest.
Mr. Ross and Mr. Wojtalewicz, along with Mr. Romine, created an essay contest covering the state of our public lands that is now entrenched in a national debate. Thomas Jefferson believed that wild places would reduce crime, preserve sanity, and offer Americans a more balanced quality of life, as the young nation emerged, and the Louisiana Purchase was made, America's publically owned lands increased. On the other side of the argument, however, lies the timber, mineral resources, and real estate potential locked up in these lands, not to mention the annual costs for both state and federal governments to manage these spaces in their current condition.
The students were asked: “What, in your opinion, is the purpose of wild places?” Should wilderness areas, national forests, and B.L.M. lands be preserved for recreation only, used for only their natural resources, or is there a multi-use alternative? Think of Colorado's wild places and what they mean to you.
On day one, the students were presented with "We Alone," by Alice Walker, "Big Yellow Taxi," by The Counting Crows, "What is Wilderness," from Sports Afield, and “Birthright: A Public Lands Story,” from Trout Unlimited, and other resources all considering what should the future state of wild places be in Colorado, America, and our world?
On day two, the students then engaged in a timed essay writing competition in their language arts classes. They only had about 50 minutes to create a well-written essay covering the topic, “What, in your opinion, is the purpose of wild places?”
The top essayists, according to a well-established grading rubric, were then consulted about their mile-time scores in P.E.. Mr. Wojtalewicz, Mr. Ross, and Mr. Romine then narrowed the top essayists with the fastest mile times to come up with the top ten winners:
On Friday, May 18, we all hiked up Mt. Democrat and all made it to the top of the 14,148 ft. summit. It was an amazing adventure filled with friends, beautiful vistas, glissading, and a lot of fun!