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Students in virtual public school program visit Happy Dancing Turtle

Students in grades K-12 from MTS Minnesota Connections Academy, a virtual K-12 public school program that students across the state attend from home, embarked on an Earth Day field trip to Happy Dancing Turtle on the Hunt Utilities Group Campus in Pine River in April. Family members and Connections Academy faculty also attended.

Teaching students about sustainable living, participants toured the energy efficient buildings, including one made out of cob (a mixture of sand, clay and water and insulated with straw bales); learned about active and passive solar energy; saw large demonstration gardens and vermiculture (worm composting) bins; learned about hydroponics, aquaponics and water reprocessing systems; and performed activities related to the water cycle and nutrients trees need to survive.

Time was also spent at the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, where students and their parents learned about solar hot air panels and the solar resource in Minnesota.

"What better way to celebrate Earth Day than with the enthused and curious students from Minnesota Connections Academy," said Robert McLean, executive director at Happy Dancing Turtle. "Together, we were able to learn many ways of exploring nature and living more resiliently."

MTS Minnesota Connections Academy is a tuition-free, K-12 online public school that students across the state attend from home. Throughout each month, students have the opportunity to attend field trips and community activities that provide students with the opportunity to support their daily courses and socialize with faculty, other students and their families.