Down Island Trips are not only an important Island School tradition, but they are one of the most engaging and exciting place-based educational opportunities available to our students. As a staff member, DIT’s are one of my favorite opportunities, too. I get to see students in new contexts, having new experiences, and negotiating new ideas (sometimes uncomfortable and difficult). This semester, in a walk-on basketball game with some locals on Harbour Island, a student was called “white boy” for the first time. Students talked about being treated like tourists. Individuals talked about how people would come up and easily identify them as Island School Students. They felt like this label meant that they were not individuals, but standardized and stereotypical predictions of people. They wrestled with the dangers of labels. They thought about the virtues of tourism. They even faced the fear of a first thing in the morning 3o foot cliff jump. What a way to start the day! I could feel paradigms shifting under my feet.
So, to demonstrate what a Down Island Trip really means, I bring you three moments that illustrate the heart of The Island School’s Down Island experience:
Staged at the Governor’s Harbour library, this is an excerpt from final Harkness-style discussion about what tourism means to Eleuthera.
Kayak group 2 rested our weary eyes during one last sleep-in before the academic rotation began. At around10:00amwe all emerged from our beds, which felt like soft marshmallows after sleeping on the ground for 11 days. However, those 11 days were some of the most exciting, fun, and trying days of our lives. On Down Island we ventured up to the north end of Eleuthera in order to consider what it means to be “responsible tourists.” We fully immersed ourselves into the culture by eating local food, conversing with people in different settlements, and seeing different communities. Continue reading →
Throughout my Island School experience, I’ve had a lot of firsts. My first night-time scuba dive, my first short haircut… but perhaps one of the firsts that I honestly never anticipated to experience here was my training as a quasi-plumber expert! Biodigestion is a process that has many useful benefits that range from the reduction of waste materials to the production of renewable energy- none of it would be conceivably possible, however, without proper plumbing and piping. So I sat down with Sam, our biodigestion advisor, where he taught me the ins-and-outs of how to properly clean and seal two pipes to activate a pressurized valve. Continue reading →
The Spring 2011 Aquaponics Research Crew spends our days watching lettuce grow. When we’re not bent over lettuce beds, measuring plant height and counting lettuce leaves (last week we estimate that we counted at least 2,500 leaves!) we like to relax and rap about the glamor filled life of an aquaponics researcher.
Due to the recent arrival of the K1 kayak group, today was hectic as it was filled with a tornado of emotions. Excitement, relief, confusion, and anticipation encompassed the campus. Students shared stories of kayak, the recent Rock Sound homecoming, and the laborious academic week that they had just endured. Everyone was excited to be reunited with each other; however, this reunion did not last long. Continue reading →
By: the aquaculture research class; Aldis, Emma, Izza, Marco, Bronte and Elizabeth
This semester’s research is focusing on lowering the percentage of fishmeal that is included in aquaculture fish food. This is a poem describing what we do each week with the aquaculture research class. Continue reading →
Today, we went to Princess Keys and experienced our first taste of returning home to an environment that is not as aware or concerned with sustainability as The Island School is. As we stood in the heat listening to our tour guide, many of us were shocked by what we heard. Because of all we’ve learned here, we were interested to know if they were environmentally friendly. It turns out that our tour guide didn’t even know half the answers to the questions we were asking her. A lot of us starting thinking about returning home and what it was going to be like and how we could help to make a difference. But we didn’t have too much time to ponder about home because of our upcoming 8-day kayak andDownIslandadventures that were soon to come. Feeling intense anticipation, we are all very excited about our trips and can’t wait to embark on our upcoming journeys.
We started out the day with a competitive fun loving game of capture the flag in the inner loop. This unique morning exercise set the attitude for the rest of the day. We had an extraordinary math class that involved going to Schooner Cays, a thirty minute boat ride from The Island School, and taking sextant readings to improve on our celestial navigation skills. Once we got back we headed straight off to the Rock Sound Homecoming, where we made our Human Ecology presentations. When we got class out of the way we were able to experience the true Bahamian homecoming at its fullest. There were vendors with many Bahamian delicacies, including conch fritters and guava duff. Once the sun had set and the party began, we danced the buckles off our shoes with local residents. All this activity left us with full stomachs and aching feet, which lead to a great night’s sleep.
Experiential education is catching on here in Eleuthera. Last week BREEF (Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation) held a teachers workshop in Savannah Sound. Local teachers came from far and wide to take part in the one day coral reef training workshop. Educators gained a plethora of lesson plans to connect students to the coral reefs in their surrounding environments. Those attending the workshop participated in a number of skills based learning techniques such as, games, reef mapping and a field trip. Continue reading →