After a week exploring South Eleuthera above and below the water, the students are already taking on the academic portion of Summer Term!  Again, the students are quite busy, so Summer Term faculty have filled in for this blog post!  We, as faculty, are consistently asking them, “How can we live well in a place?”  Exploring this question, students will rotate through week long intensives focusing on three different themes: Marine Ecology, Food Systems, and Tourism & Development.

Marine Ecology: In Marine Ecology, the classroom is not a room full of chairs or desks. Instead, the classroom is a small portion of a larger coral head, buzzing with fish of all sizes and coral of all kinds. As students learn about various components of the marine ecosystem, they have the opportunity to explore what they learn in class underwater by taking the time to observe a single section of a reef. Students return to the same spot every class, each day more aware of the complex interactions that make a functional ecosystem. Students also dive into the world of Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson and participate in discussions about ethics and conservation.

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Food Systems: Understanding where our food comes from, how it gets to our table, and where our waste going after we are through are all essential in gaining a sense of place and grasping our term’s theme: living well in that place.  During the Food Systems unit, students will visit farms (both on and off Island School’s campus) to learn about the challenges and techniques to growing food on Eleuthera.  In addition, students will understand both our environmental and social impacts that accompany our production of waste products.  After two and a half days of in and out of classroom learning about food systems and human ecology, students will take part in intensives that highlight important sustainable food systems here on the Cape.  Students will break up into two groups, focusing on either the Aquaponics system at CEI or the Farm on Island School’s campus to further understand how to live well in a place with regards to the food we eat and the waste we produce.

Tourism & Development (Down Island Trip): Students explore the island of Eleuthera on a four day camping road trip. While visiting new settlements, such Governor’s Harbour, Harbour Island and Spanish Wells, student conduct interviews with local Bahamians. On the Down Island Trip, students also visit some of the natural attractions like ocean holes to swim in, or caves to climb through. Throughout the week, students conduct a variety of readings and have discussions about how tourism has shaped the development of Eleuthera. As they see the effects of failed tourism on the island, they began to discuss alternative forms of tourism and how it can be done so in a sustainable way for the island of Eleuthera. The class opens student’s eyes to how we can travel and understand a place we are visiting, as well as getting a chance to see all 100 miles of Eleuthera!

Our first Down Island Trip comes back to campus today and we are looking forward to having our whole community together this afternoon!  Stay tuned for more updates from Summer Term 2013!