Thursday, January 18, 2018
Education

Field trips give J.D. Floyd K-8 students hands-on lessons about the environment

BAYPORT

As the yellow bus rolled into the boat launch area at Bayport Park, a cool wind blew off the Gulf of Mexico, making it a little breezy, but all in all a good day for estuary exploration.

The bus was followed by two trucks pulling trailers loaded with kayaks. Soon, sixth-grade science teacher Charles Barrett was hustling his students from J.D. Floyd K-8 School to get paddles and life vests and head to the kayaks.

Barrett divided the students into two groups — girls and boys — and assigned one group, the boys, to stay behind, explore the park and have lunch with sixth-grade science teacher Tanya Goodwin.

Barrett took the girls, along with retired teacher Jamie Ready, who was volunteering for the day, onto the water. The groups would later switch.

J.D. Floyd is a school with an emphasis on environmental science, and what better way to examine the environment than to be right in the midst of it? Barrett takes sixth-grade groups out four times a year, with about 34 students each time.

They go to different locations to see various habitats. The fall trip usually begins at Buccaneer Bay on the Weeki Wachee River — "where the aquifer meets the surface," Barrett said.

They travel about 3 miles, "so we're in fresh water," he said.

In January, he likes to begin at the Springs Coast Environmental Education Center on the Weeki Wachee River and move toward Rogers Park, where the water begins to become brackish.

"They get exposure to the entire Weeki Wachee River," said Barrett, who has open-water kayak certification.

This most recent trip exposed students to the estuary, and there is one more excursion planned for to the gulf.

The school has its own kayaks. Barrett, eighth-grade teacher Aaron Blazek, seventh-grade teacher Linda Johnson, guidance counselor Sid Jackson and Ready are all certified lifeguards with CPR and first aid certification.

"We're kind of self-contained," Barrett said.

Different grade levels focus on different things when they have their turns in the water. Sixth-graders are given a beginner's exposure to the aquatic environment. Seventh-graders spend more time looking at the geology, while eighth-graders concentrate more on the chemistry of the waters.

"We're teaching ecology (and) environmental science," Barrett said. "Science is not just about a white lab coat and doing experiments."

Sixth-grader Dylan Hodge, 12, was at the most recent trip with classmates Brandan Hopkins, 12, and Thomas Almeida, 12.

Dylan said his teachers take them on the field trips "so we can get out of school once in a while and have fun and learn about the environment. We've learned about the biomes (and) all the ecosystems. I like to be on the water. You get to see some fish, manatees and water moccasins."

Said Brandan: "We're going to learn more with hands-on experience of our environments and habitats that we live near."

Dylan recalled seeing a bald eagle's nest on a previous trip.

Said Thomas: "I've learned how habitats are — how animals like the birds and manatees help us. The manatees help us with the algae."

Simply put, he said, he likes the kayaking for "just going outside, hanging out with friends and learning."

Comments

More than 400 apply to Pasco technical high school

School choice for 2018-19 is in full swing, and district officials said they’ve been pleased with the interest they’ve seen so far.The window for applying to the district’s magnet schools closed Jan. 12, except for applications for the new Wendell Kr...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Read the report on the fatal FSU frat party: ‘The most intoxicated’ they had ever been

Read the report on the fatal FSU frat party: ‘The most intoxicated’ they had ever been

"On Nov. 3, 2017, the Tallahassee Police Department responded to 1012 Buena Vista Drive … in reference to a death investigation."So begins a charging document in the case of Andrew Coffey, the 20-year-old Florida State University student who was foun...
Published: 01/18/18
In St. Petersburg, skeptics sneer at plan to concentrate USF power in Tampa

In St. Petersburg, skeptics sneer at plan to concentrate USF power in Tampa

In the state capitol on Wednesday, lawmakers breezed through the bullet points of a higher education bill. They skimmed past a hot-button proposal to consolidate the University of South Florida System into a single university without a peep of pushba...
Published: 01/18/18
Five things to know about teacher pay negotiations in Hillsborough

Five things to know about teacher pay negotiations in Hillsborough

TAMPA — They were hoping to receive between $15 million and $17 million in scheduled pay raises. But the Hillsborough County school district says it can’t afford to give its teachers anywhere near that much, while the teachers say they deserve nothin...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Young Pasco teacher faces cancer with support of students

Young Pasco teacher faces cancer with support of students

NEW PORT RICHEY — At age 28, things were really shaping up for Joel Santos-Gonzalez. Fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a teacher, he had just completed his third year at Gulf Middle School."I always liked to talk to people on an intellectual ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
In Pinellas and beyond, deadlines for school choice are closing in

In Pinellas and beyond, deadlines for school choice are closing in

It’s decision time in Pinellas County and other local school districts as several school choice deadlines are upon us.For Pinellas families who want to apply for a magnet, fundamental or high school career program for the 2018-19 school year, the dea...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18
For FSU fraternity, a wild night turned tragic

For FSU fraternity, a wild night turned tragic

The night of initiation was the most that the brothers of Florida State University’s Pi Kappa Phi chapter said they had ever seen their pledge class drink.That was the plan, court records said: Pledges would arrive at the fraternity house Nov. 2 and ...
Published: 01/18/18
9 face hazing charges in death of Florida State fraternity pledge

9 face hazing charges in death of Florida State fraternity pledge

TALLAHASSEE — The death of a fraternity pledge from alcohol poisoning has led to hazing charges against nine Florida State University students.State attorney Jack Campbell filed charges on Wednesday in Leon County Court.All nine will be charged with ...
Published: 01/17/18
From the archive: USF St. Petersburg’s long journey to autonomy

From the archive: USF St. Petersburg’s long journey to autonomy

As the Florida Legislature considers undoing the current governance of the University of South Florida by folding the three branches of its system into one entity, here is a look at some Times coverage of the long-running struggle for independence at...
Published: 01/17/18
How a small campus grew into an independent USF St. Petersburg

How a small campus grew into an independent USF St. Petersburg

Just a satellite campus many decades ago, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg has managed to carve out considerable autonomy within the arms of the USF System. But a bill moving through the state House of Representatives could undo its sep...
Published: 01/17/18