Friday, November 29, 2013

Construction News...Elliott Lodge

They dug a hole to put in the new gas line. And of course, they hit something! Next week we hope to start digging the BIG hole. This is the foundation hole for the new basement that will become the new shower house and the hole for the footings for the dining hall extension.

Repaired sewer line.

New gas meter and big pile of dirt. Just the beginning!
House In The Wood is operated by Northwestern Settlement, Chicago, Illinois.

content copyrighted 2013 by Val Wright, House In The Wood

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Mountain of Backpacks! Thank You, Soshee Boutique and Uncle Dan's!

House In The Wood joins Northwestern Settlement in saying a HUGE "THANK YOU" to Soshee Boutique and Uncle Dan's, The Great Outdoor Store! Together they donated over FIFTY backpacks that will go to House In The Wood, among other donations to the Settlement community.

We've been in need of more backpacks  for our growing Outdoor Education programming, and this donation couldn't have come at a better time! Thanks again!

Learn more about/show some love to Uncle Dan's or Soshee Boutique.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Construction News...Elliott Lodge

We have the site fences up and we have marked the area for digging! Now we are waiting for the gas company to move the meter and then we will have a GREAT BIG HOLE! Stay tuned as it will be happening soon!
Two orange storm fences on either side of the construction area.

Silt Fence along the bottom edge so it doesn't flow into the lake.

House In The Wood is operated by Northwestern Settlement.

Copyright by Valerie Wright at House In The Wood

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Construction News--White Pines

White Pines is finished! Remember that over Labor Day Weekend a tree fell on it crushing the last two rooms. We have finished the reconstruction with some improvements.

Notice the new light fixtures and the new flooring. We decided to go with laminate rather than carpet because the high humidity was causing mold and mildew in the carpet during the summer--not enough air circulation. We also decided to go with one built in closet rather than two to create a sense of MORE space. We just need to put up the curtains and purchase a few throw rugs to make the rooms cozy and complete.

One of two repaired rooms on the east end of White Pines
When we replaced the paneling, we choose a lighter color for the two damaged rooms and the hallway.
Hallway to Individual Rooms
 We painted the outside and replaced the gutters.

Outside view of White Pines

House In The Wood is operated by Northwestern Settlement.

Copyright by Valerie Wright at House In The Wood

House In The Wood at Settlement Thanksgiving

Every year Northwestern Settlement hosts a Thanksgiving potluck dinner for families in our community. This year's dinner will be next Tuesday, November 26th in the Settlement's Burnside Hall from 5:30-7:00pm. Over 500 people are expected to attend, and our very own Mr. Nathan will be there to meet and greet all of them!

Camp families are invited to join in the festivities and can contact Nathan in order to receive a flyer (which will be your admission ticket). Nathan also wants you to know that registration for Summer 2014 begins on January 6th. Contact him today to set up an appointment!

phone:     773-969-5579
text:         262-408-0808

Monday, November 11, 2013

Construction News...Moving Brown Bats Mini Cabin

Brown Bats BEFORE anything is done. See the new frame to the left. 
Brown Bats was moved about 20 feet to make room for the new Elliott Lodge dining hall/kitchen addition. We also "flipped" it around 90 degrees so the people occupying Brown Bats will have a better view out of their front door. Rather than the wall of Elliott Lodge there will be the woods and lake. The crew moving Brown Bats are the same people who will eventually be moving the Office/Val's Old House down the driveway to attach it onto White Pines to make room for the new lodging building.

BEFORE anything was moved, we took off the front ramp. See the piles of wood for leveling.

FIRST THINGS FIRST...we need to raise the building up to the new frame height.

The building is put on "rollers"--see that orange piece of equipment.

Next...the bulldozer "pushes" it along on the rollers.

A jack is used to life the building and position the rollers.

AND THEN...I had to attend a meeting so I missed the rest of the excitement until this picture after everything was completed.

We still need to put the ramp back on and connect the power. This probably won't happen until we finish digging the new foundation and laying the new power line. This means that Brown Bats is out of commission until sometime in Spring.

House In The Wood is operated by Northwestern Settlement, Chicago, Illinois.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Camp Acquires More Land

House In The Wood Acquires NEW land up the road from camp on Bay Road. At this time we have no plans for the land except as a way to limit development along Bay Road. We will keep it natural and use it as another place for outdoor lessons. Look at all of those GREAT rocks for geology!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

House In The Wood at ISTA Conferences

Hey, look where we have been...Illinois Science Teachers Association Conference
Our Exhibitors Booth at Illinois State Teachers Association (ISTA) Conference
We are looking for schools grades three through twelve who would like to have their students experience a two to five day outdoor education and recreation adventure at House In The Wood. Kali and I spent time talking to teachers, principals and college students at the conference.

We gave away two raffle prizes--a Classroom Outdoor Explorer Pack and a Family Outdoor Explorer Pack. Both were full of goodies to help the teacher, parent or grandparent explore outdoors with a child.

Classroom Outdoor Explorer Pack
Watch for us at ...
INCS (Illinois Network of Charter Schools) December 2-3
WSST (Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers) March 13-15

For more information on House In The Wood please go to our website at
We are operated by

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Construction News...Elliott Lodge

We are doing pre-construction prep on Elliott Lodge (the dining hall). Watch here and on our Facebook page for the latest news and pictures. We expect the building permit any day now so we can't start to build yet BUT we can tear down, dig and get other things ready while we are waiting.

Compare the two pictures. What is different?

Brown Bats Mini Cabin BEFORE

Brown Bats Mini Cabin AFTER

For more information on House In The Wood please go to our website at
We are operated by

Saturday, November 2, 2013

WOW! Already Fall. Here's the News...

A lot has been going on since my last post in JUNE. Let me catch you up...

A group of campers learn how to use their magic wands!
We finished summer camp with a FULL camp of 70-80 campers per session, happy campers, and a very safe summer. We spiced up the last sessions (after a camper mentioned how much they liked them) with two theme weeks--pirates and super hero/villians.

We had a lot of resource people coming in to do special activities--Sara Rose and others from Adventure Stage Chicago to do theater, Brian, Gordy and others for fishing, and Tom and Simba from Urban Initiatives for soccer.

Fishing with our volunteers
 We ended the summer with a week for Summer Adventure (Northwestern Settlement's summer day camp) and a weekend Family Camp. Our family camp had the usual giant Drumming Circle for all 60 people on site, an evening campfire program with s'mores and we ended with a variety show facilitated by Adventure Stage Chicago staff.

In September our new full time year around staff started.
Kali Prouty our new Program Director runs all programs at House In The Wood. This includes Summer Camp, Outdoor Education/Recreation Programs and  Settlement Fall/Winter weekend groups.
Nathan Puckett, our new community relations coordinator, will take over ongoing communications with summer camp and Rowe OEC parents, summer camp registration and general communications like the website.
Angelo Valentin, our new cook/maintenance will be cooking for all groups year around and keeping up with maintenance at House In The Wood.
Existing staff Val Wright, Executive Director and Terry Fowler, Operations Director round out our full time year around staff.

A Rowe trail group clears the area of Buckthorn
This year 5th/6th grade from Rowe attended House In The Wood for their one week Outdoor Education experience in Fall rather than Spring. So, of course, the theme of the lessons was "getting ready for winter". How do plants, animals and people get ready for the winter? Our conservation lesson was "Buckthorn--the Evil Tree". We cleared areas of Buckthorn so that we can plant new native trees in two years after the poison that Buckthorn trees put in the soil is gone. We also went on two field trips--to an organic farm and to a cave.

OMG! There was a huge windy storm and a LARGE red oak fell on White Pines. It crushed the last two
Tree falls on White Pines
single rooms. Luckily NO ONE was living in White Pines when it happened. It happened over Labor Day Weekend when there was a group of 80 people at camp. The power was out for 10 hours! But Val said the hardest part of the whole emergency was having to deal with all of this with NO coffee (power was out for 20 hours at her house)!

Kathy and Mike Elliott generously donated the entire amount needed to complete the Dining Hall expansion project! Here are the drawings of the new ELLIOTT LODGE to be completed by Spring. Upstairs will have a large dining area easily seating 120, two new restrooms, kitchen storage, a kitchen office, and a janitor closet. Downstairs will have a new year around shower house with convertible boys/girls side or just one gender. The entire building will be climate controlled with heating and air conditioning.
Front view of the new Elliott Lodge Dining Hall.
We are demolishing the existing Shower House and we have to move Brown Bats to accommodate the new addition. Watch for updates here and on our Facebook page at

For more information on House In The Wood please go to our website at
We are operated by