East students gain experience through Seacamp trip


Jacob Harpring

These are flat top boats, which students use as transport to open water during their Seacamp trip.

Jacob Harpring, Writer

After a short ride under the Florida sun, the boat, loaded with Columbus East students, slows as it approaches a buoy. This marks a reef.
Everyone puts on their fins, masks and snorkels, and plunge into the crystal clear water. After sinking beneath the surface, the cool, salty water gives up its secret and a breathtaking reef appears through the glass of everyone’s mask.

At this moment, East High School seems a world away.

For the eighteen students going to to Big Pine Key, Florida on a field trip for ocean science, this is what they have been eagerly anticipating.
Each year, Mr. Walls, who teaches ocean science, takes students to Seacamp.

Seacamp is an educational facility in the Florida Keys. It has laboratories where students can study specimens that they find on their snorkeling excursions.

Many of the students, even those who regularly visit the ocean, are particularly excited for this trip because it provides a very unique learning opportunity.

“We will be able to see the fish and then look up at the board and realize we saw that swimming around, and it will give us a connection,” Gary Fisher, 12, said.

The students will learn about the marine environment first hand by snorkeling at various sites each day. From coral reefs to seagrass beds, they will have the opportunity to experience what would otherwise be contained to the classroom.

Their typical day will start with a snorkeling outing where they will see and collect marine life. Upon returning to the seaside laboratory, they will get a close look at the micro and macro life they collected and determine their species.

Being able to relate the classroom and the ocean is one of the main reasons students find this experience so special.

“What I’ve learned will help me be more interested and understand what we will learn about, and also my first hand experience can help me in the class,” Nick Shedd, 11, said.