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Fellowship Recap by Rebecca Maynard

The following write-up was a recap provided by Rebecca Maynard, Science Teacher at Framingham High School.

On March 5th, 2022 I traveled to La Paz, Mexico to join a group of like-minded educators on an eight-day teacher fellowship. The trip was through Ecology Project International (EPI), a non-profit organization that seeks to spread environmental awareness through hands-on learning. Their goal is to reinvigorate teachers so they strive to incorporate more engaging and exploratory activities in their classrooms.

Mexico sunset

This trip was a huge personal growth experience! I was frequently pushed outside of my comfort zone but the experiences I had were so worthwhile and life-changing. I whale-watched from a tiny boat and saw grey whales ‘spy-hopping’ in all directions. They are curious by nature and bob their heads out of the water to spy on what is above.

grey whale spy-hopping

I also went snorkeling with whale sharks and sea lions. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean and they filter plankton from the water. It was oddly calming to swim next to this giant creature as it opened and closed its mouth to suck nutrients from the sea.

Whale shark feeding in the ocean

Swimming with sea lions was by far my favorite experience of the trip. I have always been mesmerized by aquatic mammals and interacting with such playful animals was an experience I will cherish forever.

sea lion playful pup

Sean lion pups playing in the ocean me swimming with a whale shark

 

grey whale heart shaped spray

I learned so much from the excellent EPI instructors and my fellow educators who came from all over the United States. They were so passionate and dedicated to providing students with unique learning opportunities. They emphasized the importance of taking time to let students explore nature so they are truly committed to learning and preserving their environment.

I was appreciative that Framingham Public Schools allowed me to partake in this experience. It reminded me that one of the most important aspects of teaching is creating memorable moments that last a lifetime. As an environmental educator, my primary goal is to create environmentally literate students who strive to care for their environment. Students will not feel passionate unless they are allowed to experience the beauty that nature provides us. It is my job to provide them with this opportunity as often as possible, to take the time to let them explore so they too can be inspired.

 

This recap was submitted by Rebecca Maynard in May 2022
Framingham High School / Science Department
AP Environmental Science, Honors Biology, and ACP Earth Science Teacher
Pronouns: she / her / hers