Experiential Learning aka Fun!
 Field Trips!
     Whether you are swimming with the dolphins, fossil hunting in the New Mexico desert or rubbing the stomach of a manatee in Crystal Springs, experiential learning (aka field trips) make learning fun and truly memorable.  I have been blessed with sharing many unique adventures with my students which will have a lasting impact on their relationship to the natural world and the creatures living therein.

     The Florida Keys offers students the opportunity to study up close and personal a broad variety of eco systems from the mangrove islands to the coral reefs.  Students visited an alligator farm in the Everglades before setting out to hand feed a school of hungry tarpon witnessed by a large number of anxious pelicans.  A visit to the Marathon Turtle Hospital took our students right into the operating room designed for a rather unusual patient. Students learn how sea turtles face challenges each day in the open ocean by virtue of pollution or global climate change.  Our trip could not be complete without a swim with a group of playful and exceptionally intelligent bottle nosed dolphin who never seem to get tired of performing in the protective confines of the intercoastal lagoon. 

     Often described as "large floating potatoes", the Florida manatee can be found in large numbers during the winter monthes in the crystal clear canals on the west coast of Florida.  Interacting with these gentle giants is an experience our students will never forget while leaving them with an indelible appreciation for these endangered mammals.  The Plantation Inn Resort provides the perfect base camp for our field trip which never fails to impress.

     When I am asked what are some of my favorite lesson plans or activities these trips are always found at the top of the list.  
 


 The Florida Everglades     
      My Earth Science students take an airboat ride through the Everglades.

 Dolphin Research Center   
  Hunter and Van "dance" with a pair of bottle nose dolphins.

 Dinosaurs roaming the parking lot! 
Albuquerque is a treasure trove of fossilized dinosaurs many of which have not been catalogued or publicly displayed.
 Fossil Hunting in New Mexico    
       In 2011, we took a courageous team of high school students into the desert looking for fossils in a prehistoric swamp.   We found trilobites in the walls of this shallow canyon.
 Giant Lobsters Spotted in Key Largo!  
       Our Biology class spent three days in the Florida Keys snorkeling, interacting with dolphins, spotted rays, goliath grouper, manatees, marine turtles  and yes... giant crustaceans. 
 Breakfast at the Hungry Tarpon   
    You have to be careful when feeding the tarpon and snook found right off the dock at the Hungry Tarpon.  Tucker disappeared right after this picture was taken and has not been seen since.
 
Hayley found this gator in her lunch bag at the Everglades Alligator Farm.
 Swimming with Manatees!  
       Every year we take a group of students swimming with the manatees in the Crystal Springs network on the West coast.  You will never forget the experience!
 PBDA Adventure Club   
    The PBDA Adventure Club offered trips to the Florida Keys, Costa Rica and Crystal River.  Shortly after its inception it became the single largest extra curricular activity in the school's history.
 Dolphin Plus in Grassy Key   
    Students were entertained by a pod of bottle nose dolphin who never got tired of performing!
 The Marathon Sea Turtle Hospital
       Students visit one of the treatment rooms for sick or injured sea turtles.  In the background are Xrays taken from one of the "patients".
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