This semester I took Environmental Science, which for me was an exciting first step towards building a major in Environmental Studies, and for others, a good way to get their science credit out of the way. As with any other science class, we had lab every Tuesday morning. We tested the water and soil quality around campus, studied population dynamics, built tiny electric generators, and more. But the best part about the class was that half of those lab days were spent off campus on FIELD TRIPS! (I didn’t know they existed in college!) Some were just a few blocks away from Transy, and others involved long drives.
It was so great to see what we were learning about exist in the “real world.” During our unit on waste and recycling, we toured Lexington’s recycling center. We got to see where our recycling actually goes and the processes used to recycle various materials. When we studied fossil fuels and alternative energy we drove to Georgetown, KY to visit the Toyota plant there to see all of the wonderful energy-saving practices they have put into place. We toured a local power plant to see where our electricity comes from. As we studied biodiversity and invasive species, we visited the nature trails at McConnell Springs — which is also where Lexington was founded!
Our last field trip of the year was to Natural Bridge in the Red River Gorge — about an hour away from Lexington. We hiked to the top of the arch and learned about local species and geology. This trip was a little scary–heights, you know–but it was a fun way to end the semester with all of the friends you’ve made in your class. The hike was much more treacherous than most of us had anticipated, and the height of Natural Bridge was much higher than I had remembered from a childhood trip there. I managed just fine though — even as my friend Skyler sang Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” the whole way up….
Even if all of the field trips had been boring, it still would have been awesome. We got to leave campus, get some hands-on learning, hang out with our friends, and for free! But our trips were all great. (And on the final exam, we were asked to rate the trips as a bonus question! 🙂 )
Lessons you should take away from this:
1. Take Environmental Science (ENVS 1024) with Dr. Kaufmann.
2. Our environment is worth exploring and protecting.
3. Field trips exist after high school!
4. Bring comfortable shoes to college, just in case you have to hike up the side of a giant rock-arch!