Island Updates

What is an Island?

Middle School Island Ecology Blog

Written by Educator Kat Duvall

Students from Middle School Island Ecology took the island by force. Their collective energy was astounding; all of it positive and some of it just a tad rowdy. As a program we participated in all of the Hurricane staples: lobstering, aquaculture lessons, rock climbing, hiking, jumping off the pier into frigid waters, and sit spots. We played games upon games; Llama Llama, Silent Football, and Where's My Chicken? Someone even brought a kazoo! It was happy mayhem, made even better by the sunny weather we enjoyed all week.

For their project, students were tasked with thinking about what it means to be an ecological island using parts of the island biogeographical theory as a baseline. We asked them to think beyond a traditional "land surrounded by water" definition of an island, and talked collectively about what it might mean to consider Central Park in New York City an island. Students paired up to choose what ecological island they wanted to focus on, think about why they considered it an island, and build the food web associated with it. They presented to the rest of the HICSL staff and the Middle School Adventure Art program on topics like Caves, Tropical Coral Reefs, Lakes, and Ice Caps. It was impressive to observe their commitment and creativity to the project, and it went as well as we could ever have hoped! This was a tremendous group of kids and we hope to see them come back in later years.

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