Upriver

Students visit nature preserve

Graham Hill, Editor-in-Chief

AP Environmental Science students were able to engage in a variety of labs at the Crystal Springs Preserve and were able to explore several areas of the park.  

This trip, currently in its eighth year, was led by teacher Margaret Drumsta and several members of the preserve’s staff.  

“As an instructor, I love the kids, how they get out of their element, get to see things that we’ve talked about and actually physically do it,” Drumsta said. “It makes it real world… it brings kind of full circle what we do out into nature.” 

Students themselves expressed appreciation for the educational opportunities of the excursion.  

“It’s important to go on an educational field trip because what we saw was a part of the curriculum. It teaches us first-hand what it’s really like in the water,” junior Chase Garner said. “Since they were basically quizzing us the whole time, it was easier to remember the content.” 

One of the day’s more hands-on affairs was entering the river itself, equipped with nets, to catch and study local marine life before returning them. 

“The fishing interested me most about the field trip,” senior Jack Boever. “I was with my friends which made the experience betterThey were very hard to catch which made it a challenge.” 

Among the creatures caught were a type of invasive catfish, which was taken out of the river and now resides in an aquarium in Drumsta’s room. Other labs included land surveying and water testing. 

“The teamwork I really enjoyed and how we all had our own role in chemical sampling and testing,” senior Evelyn Martinez said. “Just the camaraderie and teamwork… and also the people who work here are actually really nice and they make it really fun.” 

Another benefit of the trip was that students were able to get outdoors, as opposed to a more sedentary school day.  

It’s been pretty fun,” junior Lily Fitzgerald said. “This is definitely better than a normal day in the classroomRight now I’d be in French. And that can be boring sometimes, so this is great.” 

Drumsta also enjoys that her students get to experience something outside of a normal day.  

“I just kind of like the kids, just being out and not using phones and playing tag and hanging up hammocks and getting out of their normal mundane routines to just experience something new,” Drumsta said. “They get to see animals they may have never seen before, whether it’s the shrimp, or the giant catfish, get in the water, get dirty, it’s just an experience outside of south Tampa, outside of their bubble.”