Every week, on either Tuesday or Thursday afternoon, we go on a science field trip. These are unlike typical school trips because instead of going to a museum or watching a lecture we are doing hands-on field-work. This past Tuesday was the first science field trip of the semester; half of the class went to Bates-Morse Mountain. Morse Mountain is a small mountain on the coast in Phippsburg, Maine about 45 minutes from campus. The van-ride over was the first time, since I arrived at Chewonki that I’d been in a car, it felt so weird! But it was a blast, we jammed out to music and talked excitedly about what we were going to see on the trip. When we arrived at the mountain we hopped out of the van and got a brief orientation about science field trips and what the plan was for the rest of the afternoon. During this time our teachers James, Peter and Becca talked about the rule that whatever you bring to the mountain you take with you, and so James then proceeded to show us his skills for eating an apple whole – starting at the stem… it was pretty impressive.
At about 2:15 we began our 2 mile hike up to the summit. It was gorgeous! We walked over a salt marsh, observed the various types of trees and listened to different animals around us. When we arrived at the top we all took out our field journals and began to draw what we saw: the coastline and beach, the hills covered in trees and the beautiful salt marsh with rivers flowing in and out. Next we all wrote down 20 questions about the various communities (of the natural landscape) we saw and how they interact with each other. Before starting our walk back down we split up into groups to learn about the next species to add to our species list: the Pitch Pine. As we walked back to the vans we observed the landscape to be able to answer the trip’s essential question: What factors determine the boundaries between natural communities? Slipping down through the icy snow and leaves was so fun and I learned to take to heart the idea of layers… even though it was so warm on the way up, by the time we where walking back down and the sun was setting everyone started to layer-up. When we got back to the van everyone was happily tired and on the drive back we all sleepily stared out at the beautiful landscape. Finally, back at campus, we all jumped out of the vans and excitedly went to share our stories with the rest of the class! I already can’t wait to see what’s on the menu for next week’s field trip!
-Alie, The Fieldston School, NYC