Dear SML Community,
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
- Benjamin Franklin (adapted from a Chinese proverb)
Field stations are ideal places for learning, especially science. Spending two weeks or ten, summers at SML are a life-changing educational experience. The remote island setting reduces distractions while students are immersed in a community that breathes science and cherishes nature. Research has repeatedly shown that firsthand experiential learning is ideal for recruiting, retaining, and advancing students in many aspects of science. Sure, some of us are lucky to be able to read something and retain it, but most really cement our understanding when we have a firsthand experience to associate with it.
A classic field exercise at SML involves being knee-deep in a tidepool with a world-class mentor searching for algae and invertebrates, observing where they live and how they interact with each other. This type of experiential learning is especially valuable for those of us who need multiple pathways and repeated lessons to build our knowledge. As a teacher, it is so rewarding to provide a lecture and dissect a scientific paper with students moments before throwing open the classroom door and allowing them to experience the very topic with all of their senses. I have brought students into an active seabird colony after discussing foraging behavior and witnessed that "aha" moment that declares the lecture and reality are coming together in their minds. That moment of realization is often followed by a barrage of data collection and questions that show the students are applying their lessons in real time.
While these experiences clearly benefit young scientists interested in ecology, the educational methodology and processes learned in SML programs have profound application in any career. Learning how to learn is as valuable (dare I say even more valuable) as the amazing scientific knowledge you will take home from a course at SML.
Enrollments are open for our 2021 season and I am so excited for the transformative opportunities and relationships these deserving students will experience. These courses will be an investment in their lifetime of learning, and we can't wait to welcome them back to the island. You can read more about our 2021 program operations below.