NVOT’s AP Biology and AP Environmental Science classes traveled to Flat Rock Nature Center on May 26 for their end-of-the-year field trip. Nearly 50 students, along with teachers Steve Ahad, John Hughes, and Jordan Sheehan, hiked at the reserve, affording them opportunities to see the various organisms they had studied throughout the year, as well as animals in their natural habitats.
The Flat Rock Nature Center, located in Englewood, New Jersey, is an education center that offers activities such as hiking trails and conservatories. According to Ahad, who teaches both AP Biology and AP Environmental Science, the main goal of this trip was “for students to make a connection to what they learned, to nature, or to each other.”
Ahad wanted to plan a trip that had components from both the AP Biology and Environmental Science curriculum that was a “healthy, calming, artistic, athletic, inspiring, cheap, and natural activity that could also be social.”
Students were also able to gain an appreciation for nature after going on the trip: “It was a fun day with friends and it was nice to be outside,” said senior Corin Clark, who takes both AP Biology and Environmental Science, “but we also learned a lot by observing different animals at the facility we visited.”
AP Biology student Siddhi Samant added that it was “nice to be able to appreciate nature with classmates and collectively de-stress,” in addition to learning more about wildlife and the environment.
Ahad hopes to make the hiking trip an annual tradition. “People don’t care for nature as much because they are so disconnected from it,” he said, “so if kids experience nature more often, they are more likely to care for it and learn from it in the future.”