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Bringing the Textbook to Life

2012 December 18

By: Crystal Avila

As a student, I have always been attracted to science. Whether it was because it fascinated me or because I was good at it I don’t know, but science was a class I always enjoyed, and still do.

When I was younger, field trips were just a more interesting way to spend my school day, but now as an AP science student at Pioneer Valley High School, I understand the educational value that comes with some field trips. Reading a textbook every night isn’t a typical teenager’s favorite thing to do, but I can say that seeing the textbook come to life is pretty amazing. Over the course of the semester my AP Environmental Science class has been on four field trips. My favorite, and most recent, field trip was to Windset Farms, the world’s most efficient greenhouse. And amazingly, it was about ten miles from my school’s campus. It was definitely amazing to see all the major themes I’m learning in class like IPM (integrated pest management), reducing emissions, improving efficiency, and conserving water being put to use in a greenhouse in my community. It was incredible to see the themes I read about actually helping a company thrive and helping save the environment at the same time. Sometimes I doubted it was possible, but I was proved wrong.

 Another aspect of field trips introduced to me by AP Biology and Environmental Science teacher Mr. Magni, is guest speakers. Hearing information first hand from people who work jobs that are relevant to the material we’re learning about really helps put things in perspective. In the textbook, some things like oil well testing don’t seem super important, but after a lecture by a person who’s job is reading those test results, I came to realize how important every detail of a process is.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a teacher dedicated to enriching my classes’ experiences with science by giving us opportunities to expand our knowledge and see that the things we learn about in class. I have learned how topics like oil, marine pollution, and high-tech agriculture affect our area and the people whose livelihoods are dependent on them. It’s an eye-opening experience to see the things I’ve been learning over the semester in a variety of different jobs by having the opportunity to go visit on a field trip.

About the author: Crystal  is a 17 year old senior that attends Pioneer Valley High School.  In her spare time when she is not playing tennis for the school’s varsity team or studying for AP tests, Crystal loves going to drive-in movies, dancing, and shopping for shoes.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Darla permalink
    May 20, 2013

    Hi Crystal, my name is Darla and I am also a current AP Environmental Science student in New Orleans, LA. I am glad that your AP Environmental Science class was able to take field trips and have those first-hand experiences to see the “textbook be brought to life”. My class also had those eye-opening experiences. My teacher always provided visuals for our lessons and had different guest speakers as well to help us fully understand the concepts we were learning in APES. In the beginning of our school year, we went on a field trip to our City Park and we planted over 300 bald cypress trees and Nuttall oak trees to restore the forests that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. My teacher has been doing this field trip for her AP Environmental Science classes since 2006. The trees that we planted were first seeded and grown in our Coastal Roots tree nursery at my school. The trees were then brought over to City Park. It was such a fun, muddy experience! Dr. Pam Blanchard of (Louisiana State University) LSU Coastal Roots taught us how to plant the trees with dibbles, ever heard of that? This field trip has taught me that natural disasters can bring people together to restore damaged ecosystems. I enjoyed this field trip and it has motivated me to continue restoration ecology in my community. I cannot wait to revisit the site for years to come and see the trees that my class helped plant. I am glad to have taken the AP Environmental Science class and I am glad that you enjoyed your experience as an AP Environmental student as well.

  2. Janell Simpson permalink
    May 23, 2013

    Darla, I am so glad that you have shared your experiences in my class. We had a great year and I look forward to your senior year.

  3. The Book Beaver permalink
    August 13, 2013

    Hi Crystal,

    Thank you so much for sharing the information with us. It is worth to read your post and Darla comment. I look forward to read more about the topic so please keep sharing.

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