APES Digs for Knowledge

Sarah Lemley, Staff Reporter

“You know, this is really cliche, but I in all honesty believe that nothing more could be done to improve on the experience of the trip. It was such a gratifying thing because we learned so much about the ecosystems on False Cape, but we all had such a grand time doing it,” junior Scarlett Jackson said. “I cannot remember one moment where someone was not laughing. Laughter was always hanging in the air.”

Every year, the AP Environmental Science classes take an educational trip to False Cape State Park.

“We did water quality testing in the ocean and in the bay. We go to the aquarium and we look at biodiversity and we learn about different marine organisms,” APES teacher Diana Webber said. “We do fish samples so we do netting in the water and try to catch different fish and things in the ocean and the bay which is fun.”

On this trip, teens learned about how to test the healthiness of water. “One day on the beach we dug a series of holes and the last one was about five feet deep. The real kicker is that I didn’t have enough room in the five foot hole to physically bend down and get a sample of water so Cassidy Hamilton had to hold my ankles while I leaned down into the hole on my belly,” Jackson said.

“I learned a lot more about the biodiversity of the area and how we impact the environment. Also that deep down, we all want to be otters,” senior Sarah Morris said. Morris, like other students who embarked on this adventure, got to spend hours on the beach, becoming closer with nature.

“We were out in the wilderness; there were cool animals. It shows how if you have a habitat thats not really messed with; I just feel like we saw a lot more animals than we do in Charlottesville,” senior Patricia Harley said.

Many students could not think of anything that the trip could improve on, and had many favorite moments while there.

“My favorite memory was sitting together with our feet in the water watching the sunset,” Morris said. “My favorite activity was eating Ms. Webber’s grilled cheese and taking with everyone. It was so wonderful getting to know everyone, and I wish I could go again.”

“My favorite memory of the trip was when a whole bunch of us were sitting in the kitchen during our study time, and listening to jazz standards, while drinking hot coco and complaining about our work whilst laughing,” Jackson said. “It was one of those instances that will forever be solidified in my mind as a perfect moment.”

“My favorite activity was the graveyard walk because I’m obsessed with graveyards,” senior Cassidy Hamilton said. “It was fun and creepy even though everybody walked through tons of poison ivy.”

Not only did students experience a fun time, they also were able to learn about the importance of the environment.

  “I want them to learn about the current state of the environment by the ocean. I want them to learn about maritime forest ecology and it’s kind of an overview of what we’re going to be doing in the class all year,” Webber said. “I think it’s really important because kids can establish a connection with nature on this trip. It’s good because kids, like, they lose touch with nature a little bit, so this trip they were immersed in nature because there’s nothing else on the whole nine miles of beach. It’s just us.”