The frigid temperature and sharp winds did not stop the group of over 70 freshmen students from attending their outdoor IBET field trip to Mason Neck Park. The students trekked throughout the forest, finding good locations to conduct experiments.
The purpose of the field trip was to survey the elevation of various vernal pools at Mason Neck. Vernal pools are temporary regions of water that provide a habitat for a variety of plants and animals.
Students were split up into groups and designated a certain area of the vernal pool. The groups then surveyed the area using a transit reader and line poles to get the elevation measurement per square meter. The teachers moderating the experiments and surveying provided as little help as possible so that students can learn and conduct tests on their own.
Originally scheduled for mid-October, the field trip to Mason Neck was postponed due to the government shutdown. However, even though the other IBET’s had already conducted their field trips, students were still excited and well prepared.
The field trip is the beginning of the IBET projects for these students. Later in the spring, students will come back to the vernal pools and survey egg masses of salamanders, the defining theme of their project. Going to the vernal pools early on gave students an idea of their testing location so they can better plan the final IBET project.
“The concept of the IBET project is new to many people and this field trip gave a promising look into the rest of our IBET experience.” freshman Shivam Kollur said.
Although there was some difficulty in using the instruments and calculating the elevations, students really enjoyed the trip.
“We worked as a team to overcome the challenges we faced and leaders emerged as we progressed through those obstacles.” Kollur said. “In hindsight we argued, we laughed and we got things done.”