By: Hannah Weisenberger
This school year, Male began offering a few new classes, one being an ecology class that travels to the Community Boathouse every class. This allows them to use the environment as their classroom. Mrs. Page, who teaches the class, said that she had “hoped for a class like this” ever since she started teaching. This year the class finally became a reality thanks to help from Dr. David Wicks, the donation of equipment by the University of Louisville, and the Salt River Watershed Watch.
Mrs. Page set out with a goal to “develop a solid program where there is a lot of really deep learning going on.” In the class, she follows as the students lead, letting them develop their own questions and ideas. She also lets them explore what they want to do. Mrs. Page said, “The goal is to have the students develop a research project and execute some of their original data to their research projects and present them at the end of the year.”
By traveling to the boathouse and Beargrass Creek every other day, the students in the class are able to complete research about the relationships between organisms and their surroundings instead of just reading about them. Lauren Brown (12) stated, “My favorite part of the ecology class is probably actually getting to be in the field and doing real research.”
While the students seem to like going to the Community Boathouse, getting there is not easy. “Right now we do not have a bus and that kind of hurts us,” Mrs. Page stated. Not having a bus means Mrs. Page has to drive four students who can not drive to the boathouse, while the other students drive on their own. This year the class size is 15, which means that not having a bus is okay for now. However, if the class continues to grow in the future “driving is going to be a problem,” says Mrs. Page.
For those interested in taking the course next year, having a better understanding of ecology would be helpful. Mrs. Page recommends taking her single block ecology class as a means to gain understanding in this field before taking the traveling class. An application is also required if you are considering taking the course. Sophomore, Genisis Leemore, said that she would “definitely recommend this class” to others because it “gives you the experience of a college course while also making a true difference within the ecosystem.”