The 24 youth and counselors, four Wilderness Inquiry expedition leaders and four Forest Service staff and interns learned about forest soils, vegetation, fire management, wildlife tracking, and air quality monitoring from Forest Service scientists. Each group did a service project that involved releasing pine seedlings from surrounding vegetation and removing invasive thistle from a popular recreation area. They also visited local community colleges that feature natural resources and recreation studies. When not working or learning about the area, participants had the opportunity to canoe with Wilderness Inquiry staff, hike, play games around the campfire and play capture the flag with a Smokey bandana.
For some participants, this was their first extended interaction with the outdoors. In the words of one participant with no prior camping experience, “For it being my first time it was actually pretty nice! Now that I’ve been here, I would come back. Kawishiwi Falls, that image will always be there. It looked amazing! If I could hike there again I probably would.”