As students embark in their last few weeks here, it gives us the perfect opportunity to reflect on the many unique learning experiences the students have shared. Throughout the past few weeks, students have participated in three classes, Marine Ecology, Tourism and Development and Sustainable Systems. Each of these classes challenges students to think about their relationship with place, to formulate questions and to develop solutions. Students spend one week immersed in each class.

 

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Marine Ecology:

Marine Ecology is focused on three core concepts—ecology, biological systems and natural history writing. Each morning, students gather in the classroom to study and discuss diverse ecosystems in the Bahamas. In the afternoon, marine ecology travels to a field location where they further discuss and explore the ecosystem studied that morning. During this time, they also practice observation, inference and communication skills.

 While learning about mangroves, students take a short walk over to the campus’ mangrove forest, where they study the benefits of mangrove ecosystems and make observations.

While learning about mangroves, students take a short walk over to the campus’ mangrove forest, where they study the benefits of mangrove ecosystems and make observations.

 On other days, students dive into their studies (literally) and make underwater observations of the nearby coral reefs. Through their connection with the  Cape Eleuthera Institute , students get to participate in important research and conservation efforts.

On other days, students dive into their studies (literally) and make underwater observations of the nearby coral reefs. Through their connection with the Cape Eleuthera Institute, students get to participate in important research and conservation efforts.

 Throughout this course, students study effective ways to communicate scientific research. At the end of the class, all of the students submit a creative writing piece that demonstrates what they have learned throughout the course.

Throughout this course, students study effective ways to communicate scientific research. At the end of the class, all of the students submit a creative writing piece that demonstrates what they have learned throughout the course.

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Tourism and Development:

In this class, students study the economic and political history of the Bahamas. The course encourages them to think about their own relationship to place and how perceptions of the Bahamas have been constructed.

 During this class, students leave for a four-day down island trip. On this trip, they interview locals and tourists about their opinions of tourism. They also participate in a 24-hour solo, meaning they live by themselves in an excluded area of the beach for one day. During this time, they are expected to journal and reflect on their time as an Island School student and set goals for themselves that will help them benefit their wider community.   

During this class, students leave for a four-day down island trip. On this trip, they interview locals and tourists about their opinions of tourism. They also participate in a 24-hour solo, meaning they live by themselves in an excluded area of the beach for one day. During this time, they are expected to journal and reflect on their time as an Island School student and set goals for themselves that will help them benefit their wider community.

 

 In the classroom, students discuss tourism in the Bahamas and how advertising has contributed to specific expectations and perceptions of the Bahamas.

In the classroom, students discuss tourism in the Bahamas and how advertising has contributed to specific expectations and perceptions of the Bahamas.

 Students also visited a nearby abandoned resort where they discussed the ecological and social impact of mass development in the Bahamas.

Students also visited a nearby abandoned resort where they discussed the ecological and social impact of mass development in the Bahamas.

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Sustainable Systems:
There is a lot to explore in the ocean and around the island, but there are also a
lot of great efforts happening right on our campus! In the sustainable systems
class, students learn about sustainable systems such as permaculture,
aquaculture, composting and solar energy. Throughout the week, students also
design and present projects that could be implemented in their own communities
to make them more sustainable.

 In this image, students are seen learning about the benefits of pole mounted solar rays.

In this image, students are seen learning about the benefits of pole mounted
solar rays.

 Students spent an afternoon at the aquaponics system learning about how the system operates and helping take care of the fish that make it possible.

Students spent an afternoon at the aquaponics system learning about how the
system operates and helping take care of the fish that make it possible.

 While at the aquaponics systems, students also helped plant the lettuce that we eat on campus. Yum!

While at the aquaponics systems, students also helped plant the lettuce that we eat on campus. Yum!

During their time here, the students have participated in many unique learning experiences, and there is a lot to reflect on. But luckily there's still more time and plenty more to learn! We are very excited for the parents to join us next week and share in these many wonderful experiences with the students!