In his description of Hurricane Ian's effect on Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis stated, "The impacts of this storm are historic and the damage that was done has been historic." The hurricane made landfall near Ft. Myers just after 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday with 150 mph winds, tying the fifth strongest hurricane to make landfall in the United States... ever. Hurricanes are a natural part of life in coastal communities, sometimes with disastrous effects.
Nature is described by ecologists as ever-changing or in a constant state of flux. Human beings have been challenged since the beginning of time to survive and thrive within this dynamic system. As an example, as natural predators have been removed from populated areas, hunting provides a means of controlling prey populations and wildlife management (Moore, 2021). Exposing students to nature improves academic learning, supports personal development, and encourages environmental stewardship while helping students understand both the beauty and challenges of living on our planet (Kuo, 2019).
"We have been on a leaf hunt, collecting the different types and varieties of leaves around our campus," shared Mrs. Whitney Lankford P'27,'30. The kindergartners were concluding a science lesson on temperate deciduous vegetation and how the seasons affect the trees. "We get to see all the colors that were masked by the green when the tree stops transporting water and nutrients to the leaves in the Fall." The lesson occurred this week and concluded with Mrs. Lankford seated in the Jeanne Pope Garden behind the lower school with twelve learners excited to snap a picture with their zip bags full of samples.
"After reviewing plant structures and functions in class, this observational lab allows the students to closely inspect and compare four different agriculturally important plants and actually find, see, pull-apart and compare components that make each crop unique and functional," shared Dr. Allen Harper P'01,'06 as he described a recent lab investigation this week. "For example, students recognize corn as a monocot based on seed structure, fibrous root system and parallel leaf veins. They recognize soybean and peanut as legume crops with atmospheric nitrogen fixing capacity based on the presence of root nodules containing Rhizobium bacteria." The upperclassmen have the option of participating in AgriScience, a course where science and technology principles are studied as they apply to agriculture and agricultural production.
Getting students into nature and studying the world around them is an element of learning and education that is future-oriented. In the nurturing and student-centered environment of the Academy, we do this safely and intentionally. In the future, their skills--creativity, critical-thinking, and problem-solving--will be essential when disaster threatens. Their leadership (and service) will help ensure our balance with an ever-changing world.
Finally, here are some items to consider:
Regarding preschool and lower school, conferences with your child's classroom teacher are Friday, October 7. If your haven't done so, click here to schedule your conference.
Regarding middle school and upper school, conferences with your student's advisor are Friday, October 7. These conferences should include your student. Click here to schedule.
Regarding whole school, no school on Monday, October 10 for a long Fall Break weekend. Look forward to our next family engagement activity on Saturday, October 29. Reach out to your grade level parent representative or PTO Co-Chair Leslie Smith to volunteer.
Tomorrow, our first Monday in October is a B Day for middle and upper school, per the all-school calendar.
If you are interested in supporting the victims of Hurricane Ian, the American Red Cross has a donation page located here.