Low Ropes Course opening in school forest

The Wittenberg-Birnamwood School Forest has a new addition, ready to challenge participants of all ages.

The low ropes and challenge course was constructed this spring and summer, and consists of 11 elements of varying difficulty. The district has been working with Abee Inc. for the majority of the construction, training and certification. In addition, the tech ed classes at Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School helped and built the wooden platforms.

The grand opening of the course will take place from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at Hi-Wood School Forest, W18891 Partridge Lane, Birnamwood. Residents can take a tour, check it out, and sign up for a 30-minute session to get on the ropes course. See the district Facebook page to sign up in advance, or sign up in person at the open house.

The low ropes course is part of the outdoor opportunities already offered at the school forest. Currently, students attending Wittenberg and Birnamwood in kindergarten through fifth grade visit the school forest monthly for explorer days while students in grades 6-8 visit about four times per school year.

The idea for the low ropes course came about when a local organization, the Wisconsin Deerhunters Inc, Witt-Birn Chapter, approached the school district about a donation to the school forest. Officials asked teachers and staff what they would like to see added to the nature center programming, and it was agreed upon to build a low ropes and challenge course.

This addition is expected to enhance the programs for the upper elementary, middle and high school students. As they grow older, the school district wanted to continue that idea of team building and problem solving while exploring the school forest.

In addition to the Wisconsin Deerhunters Inc. Witt-Birn Chapter, other donors to the low ropes course are the Wittenberg-Birnamwood Booster Club, Wittenberg-Birnamwood Retired Teachers, Birnamwood Parent-Teacher Organization, Wittenberg Parent-Teacher Organization, Darling-Gunderson American Legion Post 341 and the Central Wisconsin Electric Cooperative.

Over the summer, 13 staff members participated in the three-day facilitator training led by Dan Miller from Abee. During this training, staff learned how to safely use the equipment and elements while guiding participants of all ages through activities and challenges.

For information, call 715-253-2213.