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The great outdoors

Eco-minded students choose alternative spring break
Mar 11, 2010
By Krista Bradley

It?s that time of year again: spring break for Ohio University. Across campus, students are packing their bags to trot the globe during March 20-28. While most OHIO students and faculty associate spring break with trips to warmer climates, not everyone?s spring break destination is a beach. Read on to learn about one of many non-traditional spring break trips being planned by Ohio University students.

While most spring breakers may be soaking up sunshine on sandy beaches, a group of Ohio University students will be hiking through the rugged wilderness.

The Office of Sustainability and Outdoor Pursuits are co-sponsoring an alternative spring break trip March 20-25 that includes a multi-day backpacking tour as well as a stay at The Farm Community in Summertown, Tenn.

?Both of our programs' missions relate to environmental awareness, so collaborating together makes sense,? said Tom Tesar, Director of Outdoor Pursuits.

Known as an ?ecovillage? or an ?intentional community,? The Farm Community was established to create a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable living environment. While there, Ohio University students will learn about sustainable living through workshops, as they explore The Farm Community?s 4,000 acres of wooded terrain.

Workshops will cover topics as diverse as alternative energy systems, straw bale home construction, Shiitake mushroom cultivation, spiritual midwifery and how to start a small business.

?I think The Farm will be a great learning experience, particularly because I have a personal interest in intentional communities, and I think it will be neat to see what they have going on there,? said senior environmental geography major Molly Shea, who is helping to plan the trip through the Office of Sustainability.

In addition to the ecovillage experience, the spring breakers will be backpacking for three days in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in northern Tennessee.
?Logistically, Big South Fork is a good fit for this trip, as well as a great backpacking destination in its own right. It features 150 miles of hiking trails, rivers, waterfalls, gorges, sandstone bluffs and historic sites,? Tesar said.

Contrary to most spring break trips, this one won?t break the bank. Participation costs only $100 ? significantly less than the $600 to $1,200 spent by the average spring break vacationer, according to Travelocity. The $100 participation fee covers transportation, meals, ecovillage workshop fees and outdoor equipment from Outdoor Pursuits.

?I see it as a relaxing time and a way for me to reconnect with nature, which is often hard to do while in school where most of my time seems to be spent on a computer,? Shea said.


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Published: Mar 11, 2010 8:00 AM

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