Biology AP Students Given Chance to Go on Field Work Trip

Biology teacher Meghan Shuff has offered her AP Biology students an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned over the course of the year to the people and community of Costa Rica.

A few years ago, Shuff met a woman who heads several programs with “Scholastic Expeditions” and has since been informed of various research projects that her students could partake in. Although these trips would take place during the summer at the earliest, Shuff has been looking into it as well as making her students aware of the opportunity by sending them flyers and talking it up to her AP Biology class.

“When you do something outside the class it makes what you learn inside the class that much more real to you and more exciting,” Shuff said. “Any time you’re doing something in the field it just makes things make sense and it gets you really excited about what you’re learning in class. It helps you connect things.”

Through Scholastic Expeditions, students have the chance to go for nearly a week at a time on a trip of their choice. One such trip would take place during June of this year and would be an eight day stay in Costa Rica to study sea turtles by taking and examining data. Students would help protect their egg-laying habitats from predators and eventually help set the baby sea turtles free into the ocean. Another trip would be a homestay with a community service project as well as an eco farm.

“The fieldwork can relate to what I teach in the ecology unit, energy unit, biodiversity, and genetics, cladistics,” Shuff said. “[It] transcends all work the students do, this is why I like the idea of them getting involved in outside research and fieldwork opportunities. Last year, we took students to Ventura for field work and have done some local work as well. Having funding to do these types of projects [and] vested interest by the students and teachers is key.”

Shuff will not be attending herself but is rather organizing for her students to attend. Other activities there might include visiting live volcanoes and beaches, whitewater rafting and zip-lining.

“Throughout the year in [Biology], we have learned concepts and applied them to in-the-class labs,” junior Austin Campitelli said. “As interesting and thought provoking as these are, being able to take multiple aspects learned in the year and use them in real life would be so fascinating. I would feel that all that hard work in the classroom could really pay off and we students could take in a new understanding of biology.”

With a variety of dates and locations to choose from, students would pay an all-inclusive fee for the trip to see these different ecological habitats firsthand.

“The trip would be unique with its focus on ecology and habitat restoration and conservation projects,” senior Emily Cheng said. “The field work would be awesome — getting interactive and hands-on with biology makes the learning so much more memorable and impactful. It’s cool to be able to see the forests and then be a part of the effort to preserve their beauty.”

Students have shown mild interest as Shuff has not yet received emails about participating.