Seventh-grade girls from the Columbus School for Girls traveled to Stone Laboratory on Gibraltar Island in Lake Erie.

Seventh-grade girls from the Columbus School for Girls traveled to Stone Laboratory on Gibraltar Island in Lake Erie.

The focus of the trip is the ecology of the Great Lakes region.

The first stop was at Back to the Wild, a volunteer, nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation and nature education center located near Castalia, Ohio.

Monarch butterflies are bred at the center and the students had an opportunity to release three tagged monarchs that will journey to Mexico for the winter.

After a ferry ride to South Bass Island, the girlstoured Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial and Museum. They watched a presentation on the Battle of Lake Erie. Afterwards, the girls witnessed a reenactment on the loading and firing a musket similar to one used in the War of 1812.

The OSU research vessel transported the girls from Middle Bass Island to the shores of Gibraltar Island. Over the course of three days, the girls engaged in a variety of activities ranging from conducting limnology studies on a bio cruise of Lake Erie to identifying microscopic aquatic organisms.

The girls also attended an ornithology class, went birding on the island, and took part in a bird count. In addition, the students participated in an edible plant walk, learning how indigenous people used the plants for nutritional and medicinal purposes.

Water analysis involved seining on Alligator Bar to collect macro-invertebrates and using these biological indicators to determine the water quality of Lake Erie. They learned about Ohio’s exotic and invasive species. The Ichthyology experience consisted of using a dichotomous key to identify some common fish of Lake Erie, followed by fish dissection.

During island–time, students viewed the glacial grooves left on the rocks as the glaciers moved through Ohio during the ice age.

For math class, students measured the island and each of the buildings by pacing and used their data to calculate the area of each building and the island itself.

For language arts, students completed an eerie story based on a reading prompt.

For the art component of the field trip, the students used the techniques they acquired in art class to create a two-point perspective drawing of one of the buildings on Gibraltar Island. For history class, the girls created their own “memorial” or “memorabilia” for Perry.