A Walk in Nature with AP Environmental Science

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A Walk in Nature with AP Environmental Science

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Student

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Exploring and admiring nature have always been passions of mine. In almost every nook and cranny of my community, I have sought to find a natural wonder, and I have never been disappointed. For this reason, I chose to enroll in the AP Environmental Science class here at John Jay High School in my junior year to better understand the environment and the role human action has on its beauty. Among all the lectures and labs, my class completed, encompassing topics from soil composition to plastic pollution to food chains, one component of the class that was most memorable was the field trips.  

Each of the field trips the AP Environmental Science classes embarked on left a mark on every heart and mind of the class’s student body. These trips taught us new techniques about environmental engineering at our local wastewater facility, methods to sustainable farming at Hilltop Hanover, the effect of microplastic pollution in the Hudson River at Clearwater, the impact of mining waste at Sterling Mine, and of Earth’s rich biodiversity at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. Such trips also provided the class with hands-on activities that allowed us to better understand Earth’s intricate environmental systems as well as track environmental health and human actions. For me, these trips served as an inspiration to further get involved with environmental groups in my community. As I learned of the many environmental problems as well as environmental services our community and surrounding counties comprise of, AP Environmental Science and its numerous field trips provided a foundation to explore these topics further.  

One interest I sought to explore was wildlife health and the trip that wrapped up my incredible junior year in AP Environmental Science was our month-long work with a naturalist at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. The class worked on tracking the population and health of native turtle species in the Reservation, including painted, spotted, and box turtles. This project was a surreal experience as my classmates and I had the first-hand opportunity to serve as youth wildlife biologists through efforts like locating turtles, journaling turtle health and markings, and testing water quality. I walked away with a better understanding of the need to monitor water and land health to preserve the populations of native species. This trip also furthered my passion for environmental conservation as it provided me with greater knowledge regarding the role each species plays in sustaining Earth’s intricate, ecological balance.  

AP Environmental Science was both memorable and enriching. Students are bound to walk away with an enlightened perspective on Earth’s functions and beauties as well as learn to coexist with the boundless wildlife we call home.