Wilderness Leadership and Learning program teaches District students

    On a crisp autumn morning, District students participated in a different kind of lesson that involved taking a trip on the Potomac and handling eels.

    Kids screamed as a boy dumped an eel out of a container.

    The activity of moving eels was to teach mind-over-matter and was part of a lesson on the importance of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The lesson is just one of many in a year-long wilderness leadership and learning program.

    "I like wilderness, but I've never done anything like hiking before," said Labrina Long, a 12th grader. "So I thought maybe I should join the program."

    The program aims to teach leadership, self-empowerment, environmental and cultural awareness to about 60 District high school students.

    Kids also tested water by dropping chemicals in a tube and lowering water kits into the water.

    Stephen Abraham, program founder, believes the students are the future.

    "They have the ability to be an agent of change in their lives and the lives of their community and do that in a positive way," Abraham said.

    In addition to the Chesapeake Bay excursion, the students participate in several activities including a ropes course challenge and a service project on the Anacostia. It all leads up to the highly anticipated seven-day expedition on the Appalachian Trail.

    "It was really challenging, but once the program was over, you felt like you accomplished something," Long said.


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