Learning Beyond the Classroom: PVHS Students Explore Nature with Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy

On October 18th, a bus full of AP Environmental Science students ventured to Green Lane to embark on a field experience with the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy’s Floating Classroom. Mrs. Brecht, the Environmental Science teacher, and the educators at the Conservancy organized the field trip to help take what the students had learned in class and apply it to the real world. 

Brecht and the educators at the Conservancy worked together to break up the day into two parts: land and water. On the boat-turned-classroom, students learned about mussels, macroinvertebrates, and kayaking, where they gained insights into the riparian buffer and reservoir plants. While on land, the focus shifted to understanding the link between land use, water quality and providing valuable lessons on environmental impact.

Brecht first began running these trips in 2014 after she went on a second-grade trip with her daughter’s class and asked the educators if they could make something more geared for high school and AP-level classes. Now having organized numerous field trips, Brecht always looks for a way to take her students outside for more hands-on learning experiences.

“I love the opportunity to take students outside for meaningful learning. These trips always show me something about the interest of my students and what they enjoy learning about and doing, so we will definitely be going back to the Watershed Conservancy,” Brecht said. 

While Brecht has worked with the Conservancy in the past, this was the first time she has participated in the floating classroom and it left a memorable impact on her students. 

“My favorite part of the trip was definitely going on the boat and looking at the birds and other animals through the binoculars. I learned a lot from this experience and can apply it to my everyday life,” senior Madison Gorman said. 

In preparation for the trip, the Conservancy worked with Brecht to pick a topic that would work for the educational outcomes she wanted for her students. Once topics and lessons were selected, the Conservancy created a schedule and worked with their team to ensure that everyone knew their role for the day. 

“These programs always have many moving parts, but seeing the students out on the reservoir and enjoying the day, it always makes it worth it,” Laura Young, an Education Coordinator at the Conservancy, said. 

Currently, Brecht is focused on planning more educational trips, including visits to companies promoting recycling and the annual Wallops Island field trip in May. As for the future, Brecht plans to keep working with the Conservancy on different educational programs every year.

“We love the partnership we have with the PV school district and know that the memories we make with the students will surely last. It is a partnership we see continuing for the indefinite future,” Young said.