The Second Annual TLDSB Secondary Eco Summit took place from February 27 to March 1, 2014 at Camp Tawingo in Huntsville. This Program Enhancement Fund event brought together 27 secondary students with 5 schools represented; Huntsville High School, Fenelon Falls Secondary School, Gravenhurst High School, Lindsey Collegiate Vocational Institute, and IEWeldon Secondary School.

The spirit and intent of the event was to unite students who are passionate about the environment by creating a wilderness based opportunity to inspire the participants towards further growth and development as environmental leaders. The Summit was structured around the acquisition of a Certification in “Wilderness Survival and Animal Tracking” facilitated by the PINE Project and Sticks and Stones Wilderness School. The participants spent the bulk of their time interacting with the environment learning traditional skills such as: fire making, bow and drill fire-lighting skills, animal tracking, nature immersion activities, and more.

Despite the extreme cold temperatures participants happily embraced spending time outside deepening their understanding of our collective connection to the environment. Be it star gazing, attempting to mimic animal tracks in fresh snow, or quietly reflecting in a “sit spot”, positive attitudes and laughter were a consistent theme.

Even before the event ended, participants and teachers were developing a plan to build capacity for a 2015 Summit. In a closing circle where participants were invited to share something about the experience that they were grateful for a common theme was echoed by many with a deep appreciation for being given the opportunity to take part in a wilderness and environment based event. In an era of increase technological distraction out TLDSB students articulate the value in “turning off” the constant distractions and “tuning in” to the lessons of the land.