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Chinese students experience the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 08/15/2014
Story By Anthony Bruno


EAGLE RIVER - Kids from China got to see a different part of the world thanks to Trees for Tomorrow in Eagle River.

Students and hosts overcame barriers to give each other a learning experience they'll never forget.

You don't see this in many places in China, but 20 Chinese students did get the chance to experience the Northwoods, thanks to the Northland Adventure Quest.

"There's been a lot of time with the students really admiring that and taking advantage of that," says Camp Advisor Kate Neville. "Swimming in Lake Superior and experiencing water quality testing in the Deerskin River."

The Chinese students, ages 10 to 14, got paired throughout their stay with students from Northland Pines. Communication was a problem at first, but the students found a way to make it work.

"It didn't take long for them to start using technology," says Don Anderson, another Camp Advisor. "They're using their apps on their smartphones and iPads. The translators are taking less and less of a role as the week goes on. And their using, you know, a lot of hand gestures and things like that. They got through that language barrier pretty quickly."

The students have been all across the Northwoods, taking part in fun activities and learning along the way. That includes everything from environmental protection to robotic technology.

"Many ways about how to protect our environment," says "Jason," one of the Chinese students.

Grace Florence, a Northland Pines student, says "I'm learning how to save trees, and how long they grow and how old they can get."

Lily Young/Northland Pines student - "We've been building robotics, actually. We've been programming robots to do these courses," says NP student Lily Young.

Northland Pines School District worked with M&J International Education Services to make this opportunity possible. One of the staff members here from China was especially impressed with her visit.

"Sharon," a Chinese Chaperone says "The people in Wisconsin, the people at Northland Pine Tree, do very well protecting your environment. So your ski is so blue, your lake is so beautiful, and especially your people is so friendly.

Each group of students was required to do an economic themed project during their stay. This way, the kids can literally be hands-on with their learning while they're here.

"We have students doing things on tourism, on logging, hunting, invasive species," says Anderson

"Sharon" says " from these projects, they can practice their reading skills, writing skills, and so many, uh, abilities they can practice and gain many knowledge. So I think this is a good way."

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