EHS bi­ol­ogy class opens out­door class­room

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By PAIGE MAL­LORY PASSMAN ppass­man@ches­pub.com

The 10th-grade bi­ol­ogy classes at the school opened their new out­door class­room on Thurs­day, May 31.

“We’ve been work­ing with these kids for a year now in a mean­ing­ful wa­ter­shed ed­u­ca­tion ex­pe­ri­ence, so we ba­si­cally taught them how to be river­keep­ers. They tested nearby wa­ters, they iden­ti­fied is­sues that were a prob­lem in areas that need to be im­proved, and they pro­posed to com­pletely ren­o­vate this out­door class­room.” Elle Bas­set River­keeper

EAS­TON — When you walk through the court­yard at Eas­ton High School, all you see now is a beau­ti­ful pond where stu­dents can sit and learn. The 10th-grade bi­ol­ogy classes at the school opened their new out­door class­room on Thurs­day, May 31.

“The bi­ol­ogy classes of Eas­ton High School were pick­ing ac­tion projects for them to do to try to teach them more about en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems, and so my classes voted to take this area and make it into an out­door class­room so that it can be more fea­si­ble space that peo­ple can use, rather then just a pass­ing through of a court­yard,” said bi­ol­ogy teacher Tracy Det­rich. “We worked on plant­ing more plants around the pond area and clean­ing it up.”

Det­rich’s class wanted the pond area to have more plants, re­ceived fund­ing to get an out­door white­board that is water­proof and built the benches in the court­yard, Det­rich said.

“The last piece of it is we are go­ing to ad­ver­tise it to the rest of the school and set up a cal­en­dar so that other teach­ers can use it,” Det­rich said.

Det­rich thinks the mak­ing of the out­door class­room helped the stu­dents who may not be the strong­est aca­dem­i­cally to shine through in build­ing it.

“I got to see a whole other side of stu­dents in that way,” she said.

An­other rea­son the project was ben­e­fi­cial is that some of the stu­dents came to­gether and worked as a team to fig­ure out a plan.

“I’m hop­ing all of the stu­dents in the school would be able to use it at some point,” Det­rich said. “Some of my stu­dents did re­search and found statis­tics say­ing that is you have trees in your area, and if you are out­side in nature, that you can have a higher re­ten­tion rate of your con­tent than some­times in tra­di­tional class­room. So that was some of their back­ing in or­der to get the prin­ci­pal to ap­prove their project.”

Elle Bas­set, who is a river­keeper with Shore Rivers, helped the stu­dents on the project.

“We’ve been work­ing with these kids for a year now in a mean­ing­ful wa­ter­shed ed­u­ca­tion ex­pe­ri­ence, so we ba­si­cally taught them how to be river­keep­ers,” Bas­set said. “They tested nearby wa­ters, they iden­ti­fied is­sues that were a prob­lem in areas that need to be im­proved, and they pro­posed to com­pletely ren­o­vate this out­door class­room.”

Bas­set said she thinks the out­door class­room ed­u­ca­tion is ben­e­fi­cial.

“It changes stu­dents per­spec­tive, so the op­por­tu­nity to have a space for even English and math to come out­side and learn, it’s just an­other op­por­tu­nity to get the stu­dents to re­con­nect to their out­door en­vi­ron­ment in­stead of be­ing trapped inside all the time,” she said.

The stu­dents think that hav­ing an out­door class­room is ben­e­fi­cial, as well.

“I be­lieve this will help us to get a more of an out­side as­pect for learn­ing, and maybe for some peo­ple will ben­e­fit from learn­ing out­side in­stead of learn­ing in a class­room,” said Mar­ley, one of Detr­cih’s 10th-grade stu­dents.

PHOTO BY PAIGE MAL­LORY PASSMAN

Tracy Det­rich’s class was ac­com­pa­nied by Eas­ton Mayor Robert C. Wil­ley and Tal­bot County Pub­lic Schools Su­per­in­ten­dent Kelly Grif­fith on Thurs­day, May 31, to open the new out­door class­room at Eas­ton High School.

Eas­ton High School stu­dents built this pond as part of the new out­door class­room.

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