Taking the Classroom Outside
I cannot imagine a better backdrop for an Oceans course than the Atlantic coastline of Nova Scotia! Last week Grade 10 and 11 students from Mr. Dietrich and Miss Keouhgan’s classes ventured to Lower Prospect to spend the day exploring and learning about coastal and ocean ecosystems. The group was treated to a classic fall day in NS, complete with bursting colour, crisp air, warm temperatures and a light breeze.
The first half of the day consisted of a breathtaking seaside hike along Shipley’s Head looking out on Terrance Bay. Several species of lichens and flora were pointed out, including two kinds of Juniper, Wintergreen, and Bayberry. We were fortunate to have guides who were specialists in environmental science and provided detail on the geological formations of the area as well as waves, tides, and current. There was a lot of information to absorb! From the Terrance Bay Lighthouse, the students could see the location where the SS Atlantic sank in 1873 after hitting bottom, becoming the most-deadly shipwreck in Nova Scotia history.
Prior to hitting the water, students received some instruction on sea kayak technique, strokes, and safety on the water. The contrast between ecosystems of exposed and more rugged coastline versus the protected inlets was apparent. Our guides pointed out the “krummholz”, which translated from German means “crooked wood”. This is the name given to the short, deformed vegetation on the coast that is fighting to survive against the elements.
Our guides both on and off the water were knowledgeable and personal, making this an incredibly positive day of learning for students and staff alike. I think all students would agree that taking the classroom outside and exploring what is right in our backyards is the way to go! Pleasantly fatigued, there were smiles all around and lots of chatter about having another Oceans field trip soon.
KES inspires academic, athletic and artistic excellence with a commitment to the traditional community ideals of gentleness and learning, dignity and respect, so that students may discover and cultivate their unique potential, prepare for post-secondary education and develop a life-long enthusiasm for the spiritual and intellectual growth necessary to flourish in the contemporary world.