Woodland Park High School Students’ Field Trip to MarineLab in Florida 

Taking learning beyond the confines of a classroom can be a valuable way to deepen students’ understanding of a subject. This is exactly what Caleb Kettler, a teacher at Woodland Park Middle School (WPMS) in Colorado, had in mind when he started the MarineLab trip 15 years ago. Since then, the annual field trip has become a life-changing experience for many of the 238 students who have participated.

The trip involves traveling all the way from a small mountain town to Key Largo, Florida, where students spend several days at the MarineLab facility, studying marine biology, snorkeling, kayaking, and exploring the ocean. According to Kettler, the immersive learning experience at MarineLab is truly amazing and has helped many students gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for aquatic ecosystems and the impact of human activities on coral reefs.

This year, the MarineLab trip expanded to include a group of eight high school students from Woodland Park High School (WPHS), along with their AP Environmental Science teacher, Alica Mauer. The high school students got to experience similar activities to the middle school students but also had day trips to nearby national parks and opportunities to further their knowledge of concepts found in the upcoming AP Environmental Science exam.

During their trip to Biscayne National Park, the high school students took a guided kayak tour and encountered several manatees. At Everglades National Park, they spotted alligators, turtles, and birds. At MarineLab, they engaged in a challenging curriculum and experiential learning, which helped them develop a deeper understanding of marine biology and ocean ecosystems.

The MarineLab trip is a unique opportunity that not many schools in Colorado offer. Kettler has been working for years to bring the program to the high school, and he was beyond impressed with the students who participated this year.

About the Woodland Park School District Re-2 A Place of Becoming Woodland Park School District Re-2, 155 Panther Way, Woodland Park, CO 80863. Phone: (719) 686-2000. Learn more at http://wpsdk12.org