Service in the Outdoors (Chilean Addition)
This past week, nine Alzar students formed the school’s first group to trek into the narrow Bullileo Valley in the Bío Bío Region of Chile. The trip provided opportunities for personal growth, leadership development, service to the land and our adopted backcountry community and some grade-A stargazing and lake swimming. Being our inaugural visit to this corner of Chile, students got a lesson in creative trip planning and Leave No Trace principles with the addition of a service component. Upon our arrival to Chile we were informed that the Sendero Bullileo (Bullileo Trail) had been closed due to excessive trash left by visitors. As a condition of our access, we agreed to do a bit of clean-up around the lake in order to earn our visit to this spectacular location. Students spent the afternoon lounging and designing science experiments by Laguna de Plata, and rounded off our stay with a trash pick up. On our final night together in the Andean wilderness we reflected on community service: what it is and why it is important.
“A community is any group of people, anywhere, working together and supporting each other,” reflected Lily Leebern, a student from Atlanta, GA. “Service is a responsibility that enables a community to thrive. If we are going to take experiences and use resources in a place [Chile, Bullileo], it is important we give back and leave that place better than we found it.”