Bellefonte Area students headed to Galapagos Islands for science-based educational trip
A science department-sponsored trip to the Galapagos Islands in July is giving high school students a chance to go to a place they never traveled to before, while focusing on biology-related curriculum during the journey. But to make the trip a reality, students have been involved in fundraising efforts – some which have helped raise money for the trip while also giving back to a research-based organization based on conservation efforts. Advisers Kevin Harman and Chris Freidhoff said the mission of the trip is to study the ecosystems of Ecuador and study habitats of the rainforest, plains and other areas of the Galápagos Islands. The 10 students involved, along with their advisers, also plan to participate in other activities such as whitewater rafting, snorkeling and various hikes. “It’s just going to be a new experience,” student Daniel Methven said. “I’ve been out of the country, but never below the equator and I’m excited about that. You always hear of people going to Europe, but not many people go to South America, plus it will be cool because I really enjoy biology and all types of science.” Curriculum in Freidhoff’s Advanced Placement biology class is centered around evolution, and while on the trip, students will experience firsthand what Charles Darwin saw when he was there in the 1800s that helped lead to his contributions to the theory of evolution. An organization named in his memory, the Charles Darwin Foundation, located at a research station in Puerto Ayora, Ecuador, is also on the group’s list to visit and support. Students teamed up with Jabebo studio on High Street in Bellefonte to design a series of different animal-themed earrings made from recycled cardboard, and have been selling them to help benefit the trip and foundation.