Last spring’s Key West/Bahamas field trip for East Islip High School’s International Business Globalization and Environment Green Career Academies proved the perfect balance of education and recreation, from the science of the Everglades to the inside scoop on government in the Bahamas.
The annual excursion began May 15, with an airboat trip around Everglades National Park as the first event. “The students were given a firsthand look at the environment and how it is being preserved by the Florida government,” said Career Academy director Israel Malinowitzer. “We saw some rare birds, unique trees and a number of alligators enjoying the water and keeping an eye out for their meals.”
While in Key West, Career Academy students visited the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, climbed the nearby lighthouse, viewed a special tourism presentation emphasizing the economic impacts for the area, and took a train tour of the city. “The students were shown a variety of landmarks, including the home of President Truman,” said Malinowitzer. “We also traveled through the Cuban community and were able to see their homes and how their culture interacts with the other families on the island.”
A two-hour kayaking trip in the local mangrove swamp provided information on local organisms and water samples. “The expedition gave the students opportunities to study and compare this area with Long Island’s waters,” said Malinowitzer.
The students next visited Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, where the public relations director of the Miami Dolphins football team provided a tour of the entire facility. “They allowed us in the dressing room area,” recalled Malinowitzer. “The students were able to take pictures of some of their favorite players’ lockers.”
In the second phase of the field trip, the Academies moved on to Nassau in the Bahamas, initially focusing on undersea explorations. Said Malinowitzer, “We traveled to three locations, where students snorkeled with a school of fish, viewed a shipwrecked boat that had been underwater for a long time, and then took a close look at how sharks live in the area and search for food. We then traveled to a dolphin encounter, where the students interacted with the dolphins and learned how they function.” After the encounter, the students were split into groups. The Environment Green students learned how the dolphins are trained and fed, while the International Business Globalization students met with the owner of the facility to discuss public relations. “Once again,” Malinowitzer added, “they learned how important tourism is for economic success, even in the Bahamas.”
While in Nassau, East Islip’s Career Academies were granted a private meeting with the current governor-general of the Bahamas, Sir Arthur Foulkes. “He was extremely friendly and answered questions from the students,” Malinowitzer said. “He spoke about the Bahamian government, his position and how he represents the queen of England. After the interview session, he invited all of us to sit down and have lunch.”
Finally, the students visited a straw market, learning the art of bartering for items they wanted to purchase. “It was another opportunity to educate the children on how many Bahamian residents open small booths and earn income from their weekly sales,” said Malinowitzer.
“This trip was absolutely the best educational experience for the Career Academy students,” he concluded. “It provided them so many opportunities to help prepare for their future endeavors.”