The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

Green Academy field trips bring environmental science to life

Ann Akey
Green Academy sophomores embarked on an ocean kayaking trip earlier this year

Students of the Green Academy have traveled all over the Bay Area in pursuit of real-world experience and skills involving environmental education. 

The Green Academy is an on-campus program offering curriculum tailored toward students interested in environmental conservation and research. Beginning sophomore year, Green Academy students take specialized electives throughout their time in high school. Sophomore students take CTE Plant and Soil Science, juniors take CTE Water: California’s Liquid Gold, and seniors take CTE Sustainable Design. Perhaps the most alluring element of the Green Academy, however, is the regular field trips. 

“We [went to] a farm in Pescadero, because they have a Plant and Soil Science class… and they’ll be rafting on the Yuba River later this month to study salmon migration,” Plant and Soil Science teacher Ann Akey said. “I believe the seniors went to the California Academy of Science, [and] the juniors have been going back and forth to do some water sampling.”

The Green Academy program encourages real-world, hands-on education. Many trips involve exploring local natural ecosystems, though there is always variation. 

“Sometimes [we visit] human engineered structures,” Akey said. “One of the most interesting ones [to visit] is the wastewater treatment plant, to understand how the water we pollute is cleaned… It’s one thing to talk about something like wastewater treatment, and a whole other thing to see the scale, and the size of those systems that [we] depend upon… So [it’s] certainly not the sweetest smelling field trip, but [it] is something that people have never experienced.”

Beyond field trips, the Green Academy program also offers hands-on lessons within the campus grounds.

“Well, our sophomores take a class in Plant and Soil Sciences, [and they] maintain the school garden,” Akey said. “So they’re raising the plants, taking care of the trees, and taking care of the chickens.” 

The Green Academy focuses on the outdoors, and the teachers have certainly taken that idea to heart. Green Academy field trips are certainly exciting expeditions, but also have value beyond the novelty of adventure. These field trips are opportunities for students to gain real, practical experience in their aspiring fields.

“[In the same way that] science classes might have labs, and drama has a stage, we have an outdoor learning space,” Akey concluded.

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