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All boarding, grades 9-12 in Alexandria, Virginia

Expedition Experience: Fox Island on the Chesapeake Bay

The Advanced Environmental Science class headed to Maryland for a 24-hour learning experience.
During the last weekend of September, the class, along with science teachers Javier Bastos and Colleen Krivacek, left the bustle of Alexandria for the beautiful nature of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Fox Island Environmental Education Center.

Mr. Bastos said they looked at the natural beauty of the Bay, and, in conjunction with Chesapeake Bay Foundation field educators, they explored the many facets of the island including underwater grasses, fishing, the impact of climate change, and species identification.

“The purpose of the trip was to inspire students to maintain the fragile ecosystem of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Mr. Bastos.

A highlight of the excursion for Bay Cohen ’19 was learning about how pollution affects the bay. Students tested the water’s quality and compared it to normal water quality as a baseline. “We learned about what we can do individually to help the bay, and what institutions and companies can do as well.”

To better understand the island, students powered down their phones to settle into a natural rhythm that Mr. Bastos called “island time.”

The group spent the night in a lodge suspended over the shallow waters of the Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds in Virginia.

Students even learned about the natural predators within an ecosystem. Morin Tinubu '19 says, “My favorite experience was when we retrieved our crab pots, which had been sitting in the water for over a day—and eating the crabs after we cooked them." Some other species were caught in the crab pots, which students were able to take back to an aquarium in the lodge. "We also found cool sea animals like a pufferfish we named Elton and a seahorse.”

“Nature was our clock. We slept when the sun went down, we ate when we were hungry, and we woke up with the sunrise,” says Mr. Bastos.

Students collected data of species they encountered in the bay and on Fox Island. “We counted every species we saw or heard or collected evidence from, like tracks. In the end, we recorded about 96 species over two days, including both plants and animals,” said Cohen.

Tinubu enjoyed discovering the wildlife, but also bonding with her small group of classmates who went on the trip. “I recommend this trip to anyone who is willing to take risks and learn new things!”

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