This spring, faculty members in the Lower School’s 2-3 program added an environmental unit to their yearlong maritime study, with a focus on marine debris. Teachers reached out to staff at the Rozalia Project, an organization that is committed to cleaning up the ocean and local beaches, tracking data, and looking for solutions to marine debris issues in the Gulf of Maine. A member of the Rozalia team participated in a Zoom call with faculty to help prepare for a field trip to Willard Beach in South Portland, where students recently collected marine debris.
After returning to school to tally and categorize the materials, students gathered in small groups and chose an item or issue to address, such as cigarette butts, plastic bottles, or fishing rope. Working with data that they collected, students brainstormed solutions, learned how to write persuasive letters, and discussed target audiences for their communications (ideas have ranged from Head of School Geoff Wagg, mayors, and local businesses to the leaders of global oil companies). This direct action—reaching out to real individuals and institutions—has resulted in remarkable energy and enthusiasm in the classroom!