Each week our students participate in Learning Outside the Classroom, a hallmark of the University School approach to learning. Students participate in 30+ field trips a year to experience everything from an artistic performance to touring a landfill, and visiting a religious place of worship to participating in a community service project. These outings provide our students the opportunity to link what they learn in the classroom with real world experiences, and they help our students become more engaged citizens in our community. This week’s reflection was written by Bridget Conway, a 12th grader in our Upper School.
As a new student at University School of the Lowcountry, I was eager to go on my first Learning Outside the Classroom (LOTC) trip, and even more so because we would be visiting The Center for Birds of Prey. I had never been to a bird sanctuary, and was pleasantly surprised by the knowledge our guide possessed, the genuinely excited and interested way he presented it, and the very real examples of what he was teaching us – all just a few feet away. We made eye contact with bald eagles; ogled at hooded vultures (which are commonly mistaken to be buzzards); admired the markings of kestrels; witnessed kites’ amazing maneuverability in the air, and discovered how simultaneously adorable and majestic owls can be. In three hours, we learned facts about birds of prey, saw their varying flight techniques in action, and were made aware of the many actions taken by humans, such as the use of pesticides and construction of above-ground power lines, that affect, often fatally, these increasingly rare animals. I am glad that USL took us on this trip, as I discovered a truly special place only a half-hour drive away where wild animals usually unobserved by humans can live happily and be appreciated by visitors; I enjoyed the Center so much, in fact, that I plan on sharing the experience with my family by bringing them for a visit, soon.