“Two Classes in the Day of an Island School Student” Wednesday, October 6, 2010
By Caciques Heather Seeley and CJ Easton
Today at the Island School my Marine Ecology class performed our Naturalist dive at tunnel rock. The reason it is a naturalist dive is because this is one of the roles one must fulfill to be granted advanced open water scuba diving certification. So for our naturalist dive my marine ecology class went to Deal’s Point. I was boat captain of the boat the Mary Alice, which means that I was in charge of operating the boat and maintaining safety of the passengers throughout our journey. The the passengers of the Mary Alice were Jackson Rafter, Nate Smith-Ide, Margeaux Burnham, Ashley Thomas, Dorothy Long and Kristen Key. The ride to Deal’s Point was about 25 minutes but it was worth the wait once we arrived at the dive site. The dive was a shallow 25 feet but the patches of reef were absolutely beautiful. To be considered a naturalist one must be a master at studying the underworld, so for our dive we were required to identify five vertebrate and invertebrate animals that we observed on or dive. Everybody did well in identifying these creatures and did so in a way to earn their naturalist certification. This adventure was very fun and I am sure there will be plenty more to come.
After Tuesday morning’s rigorous Run and Swim Track workouts, the whole of campus arose well rested this morning, an hour later than usual. We looked forward to a day of Literature, Celestial Navigation, and either Human or Marine Ecology (scuba!) classes. Unfortunately, today was not my assigned day for scuba diving, but I was able to take part in a more thorough exploration of our campus’s resources in Human Eco class. Our current focus in this class is sustainable food production and consumption. After being exposed to the horrors of the mass-production food industry by viewing “Food, Inc.,” we wanted to find out just how healthy and sustainable our food consumption is here at the Island School. Our exploration started with a “behind the scenes” tour of the kitchen in the dining hall. Our task was see how many foods contained corn - whether corn syrup, corn starch, or corn flour - to confirm the idea that corn, one of the crops most subsidized by the U.S. government, is contained in almost all processed foods. Through this process, we realized that even we at The Island School can make better choices when it comes to purchasing organic versus conventional food products. Our next stop on this exploration was the farm area on campus, including the fruit garden and pig, goat, and goose pens. The purpose of this was to understand what Permaculture design is: a resource-consumption method that involves giving back to the land and preserving it as you utilize its resources. We discovered that our campus already implements many aspects of Permaculture. These include growing “forage,” or “edible” crops – our campus is abundant with plants and trees yielding tasty fruits such as sea grapes and carissa plums – minimizing use of manufactured energy, conserving water, and returning nutrients to the soil through fertilization techniques such as our “Poo Poo Garden.” We also discovered that there is a lot more Island School can do to use 100% Permaculture design, and to become 100% organic in our food consumption by buying from local farms as opposed to relying on imported goods.