Exciting South American Adventure

Students Spend Part of Their Summer on Exciting South American Adventure
Posted on 07/16/2019
Students visiting Ecuador

A group of students from Boca Raton Community High School recently enjoyed a unique educational opportunity, an 11-day ecotourism excursion to Ecuador. The students began their trip in early June, touching down in the country’s capital city of Quito before embarking on an exploration of the Galápagos Islands, specifically the islands of Baltra, Isabela, San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, and Las Tintoreras Islet.

The trip was undertaken along with Exporlica, an accredited educational tour group that works with teachers to create educational tours that are fully inclusive and designed to immerse students in the local culture of the country they’re visiting.

“It's important to me to provide hands-on experience with my lessons,” said Dr. Rachel Wellman, a teacher at Boca Raton High who was also the trip’s teacher sponsor and organizer. “I saw this Galápagos trip as a chance for students to see and interact with an environment that helped shape Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. Visiting the islands allowed us to provide face-to-face examples of species relationships that teachers reference in the classroom.”

Students in the school’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Club initiated the trip, extending the opportunity to any Boca High School student. The trip was ultimately subsidized by individual student fundraising. 

The students engaged in a variety of activities, including a snorkeling outing which proved to be especially popular. “The water was crystal clear and the environment was pristine,” Wellman said. “At one point we were surrounded by an array of wildlife; Galápagos penguins, sea turtles, sea lions, a Manta ray, eels, and fish. The biodiversity was magical.”

The students visited a giant tortoise breeding center, got a chance to see the Sierra Negra Volcano, in addition to going to the Charles Darwin Research Station which boasts facilities including offices and labs for marine and terrestrial investigation, and natural history collections.

“My favorite part of the trip as a teacher chaperone was seeing the group help each other, work and live together as a team, learn from experiences scientific and otherwise, and create lasting relationships,” Wellman said. As the teacher sponsor and organizer it was a lot of work and responsibility, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. This was a trip of a lifetime for all of us.”

Students visiting the middle of the earth

The School District of Palm Beach County