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Finding Faith In Nature In Subiaco 

Pope John Paul II said “The aesthetic value of creation cannot be overlooked. Our very contact with nature has a deep restorative power; contemplation of its magnificence imparts peace and serenity.” The health benefits, both on our physical and mental wellbeing are well documented. A scientific study published in Nature magazine found that spending just two hours a week outside lowers your blood pressure, reduces stress, boosts your immune system, and improves your mood. In the Subiaco campus area, you can sit by the Arkansas River and be restored by the sound of the rushing waters. Subiaco is overlooked by Arkansas’ tallest mountain – Mt Magazine, and there are miles of private trails for students to contemplate and grow.

“Let Nature be your teacher.”

William Wordsworth

Climbing and hiking

The Ouachita Mountains and the Ozarks are yours to explore in the Subiaco area. Faith and climbing go hand-in-hand. Pope John Paul II said “The way Jesus shows you is not easy. Rather, it is like a path winding up a mountain. Do not lose heart! The steeper the road, the faster it rises towards ever wider horizons.” Hiking and climbing in the mountains is a great way of enjoying nature and connecting with your faith. Everyone has their journey to make, with uphill struggles, but how we conquer the challenges in life makes all the difference.

Subiaco is blessed with an abundance of mountains, lakes, and wild spaces to explore. Spending time in nature can help improve well-being whilst at school.

“In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says, ‘he is my creature, and maugre all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me.’”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Spend the night under stars

Mount Magazine State Park is a place for exploration and relaxation, and just a stone’s throw from campus, it is the perfect place for students to enjoy camping. In watching the night sky we can consider the words of St Anthony of Padua – “The saints are like stars. In his providence Christ conceals them in a hidden place that they may not shine before others when they might wish to do so.” Camping in nature is a reminder of the enormity of the universe and our own significance. When you are camping at the state park it is worth learning a few wilderness skills including building a fire safely to cook on. Learning to survive with what God has given us in nature is an important lesson in modern times. 

“Now I see the secret of making the best persons, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.” ~ Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

On the Arkansas River

At Subiaco Academy, there are the amenities to go kayaking or canoeing on the Arkansas River. Working together on the water to achieve a shared goal, helps students develop their social skills and build relationships. It is also about appreciating the journey as much as the final destination – this is an important way to consider life and faith. The Arkansas River is a haven for birds and wildlife. It is common to see Ospreys, Great Horned owls, Golden eagles, and Chimney Swifts on the river, swooping in for trout. Spending time watching the birds is a real privilege.

Well trained, well equipped.

Our dedicated Outdoor Education Specialist is trained in how to help our students best experience the great outdoors in a safe and comfortable manner. Our program is well-equipped to handle whatever adventure the students come up with, from tents and hammocks to climbing gear and kayaks. Coupled with Subiaco’s own private outdoor playground, the Outdoor Adventure Program is one of one-of-a-kind and instrumental to our mission of providing a well-rounded foundation for our students to succeed.

Articles written by

Jennifer Potter

Nick McDaniel

Subiaco Outdoor Adventure Program Director