Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.
Every two years, a group of enterprising and inspired Colchester High School students journey to the Bahamas for a unique academic opportunity called Andros Adventure.
Originally designed in 1982 by former CHS teacher Elizabeth Carvellas, approximately a dozen students participate in each Andros Adventure, which is open to juniors and seniors.
Andros Island is the largest island in the Bahamas, encompassing approximately 2,300 square miles—greater than the area of the other seven hundred Bahamian islands combined. It is also a sparely populated island, largely undeveloped with only about 8,000 residents. Part of Andros Island’s educational appeal is that it is home to a diverse collection of marine, animal, and plant life and is also home to the third-largest barrier reef on the planet. There are underwater caves, vast expanses of beaches and tidal pools, forests, a mile-deep abyss … a myriad of enticing natural wonders to attract nature lovers from all over the world.
Andros Adventure was originally designed as a multidisciplinary, half-credit course that integrated such subjects as marine biology, photography, botany, and other areas of interest. And while the format of the program has changed somewhat over the years, this is largely still the case in the sense that the participating students can focus their study on an applicable subject matter of their choosing, be it astronomy, music, folk art, bush medicine, terrestrial ecology, blue holes, or anything else that is directly attributable to Andros Island in some manner.
While they are on the island, students spend time at Forfar Field Station, and they often have the opportunity to interview and interact with the native islanders. The trip also includes activities like ecology walks, labs, bush walks, snorkeling in the reefs, and visiting the Androsia Batik Factory.
Andros Adventure, while certainly an out-of-classroom experience, is nevertheless a considerable and serious academic undertaking. Students interested in participating must attend informational meetings and must write an essay for consideration. Students receive a half credit for their participation. Upon their return from Andros Island, students deliver individual presentations to the community detailing their cumulative learning, including pre-trip learning, on-island experiences, and post-trip understanding. Many include photographs they took while on the island and artifacts they collected in addition to the PowerPoint presentations that are often created. Participants generally spend seven days on the island, with another day on either end for travel. And in the months leading up to the trip, participants attend regular preparatory meetings and must also prepare and conduct advanced research for their intended projects while on the island.
Students interested in the opportunity are highly encouraged to apply for consideration. The planning for the next Andros Adventure is expected to begin in January 2012. It really is a fabulous and unique opportunity for those interested in expanding their experiences and welcoming what is often a highly positive personal transformation. Andros Adventure is a way to gain powerful insight about environments—often instilling a love for travel and an appreciation for and understanding of other groups and cultures. For more information, please contact teachers Heather Baron, Chris Lang, and/or Rachel Howes.
And many thanks to teachers Chris Lang and Rachel Howes for these featured photographs!
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