Our students are extremely fortunate when it comes to the high energy excursions they partake in during their three years at WMS. A couple of weeks ago, I was driving the “bus,” donated by the Wayland Boosters, supporting the sixth graders on their bike trips to Walden Pond. Just this past week, I went spelunking for the second time in my life, albeit it in the Howe Caverns, with the eighth graders. I missed going on the ropes courses with seventh grade last week, but Ms. Gavron went high flying instead! Through it all, we had unbelievable weather.
Early Friday morning around 5:45, three buses filled with eighth graders departed the middle school for their caving and geological experience. We stopped off near Mt. Tom where we discovered dinosaur footprints, which were pretty cool. It was wonderful to see the curiosity and knowledge oozing out of all the students as they were taking photos, measuring and hypothesizing. During these stops I learned about the acronym SUNSET, to help describe rocks and fossils. Students were well prepared by their science teachers as they were quick to point out to one another how to apply SUNSET.
Since we had a beautiful day, my favorite stop was at John Boyd Thacher State Park. As we stood on the Helderberg Plateau, students were hunting to see the Schenectady beds. We also had a great view of the Hudson Valley! As we made our way down the Indian Ladder Trail, students were inspecting the rondout "waterlime", the upper and lower Manlius, and many other geological formations.
This year we experienced a very different caving environment. Last year, we were slithering down a tiny hole, getting quite dirty and wet, only to experience a marvelous cave. At Howe Caverns, much to my happiness, we took an elevator down 160 feet. As you can see by the picture, we were still able to search for stalagmites and stalactites, just in a much nicer climate!
Big kudos to Mr. Battaglia, Ms. Bale and all of the other teachers for putting together a wonderful trip that was both a lot of fun and educational. It is amazing that every year our students get to explore and learn about science this way.