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Cacique Update October 6, 2010

October 7, 2010

“Two Classes in the Day of an Island School Student”

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

By Caciques Heather Seeley and CJ Easton

Today at the Island School my Marine Ecology class performed our Naturalist dive at tunnel rock.  The reason it is a naturalist dive is because this is one of the roles one must fulfill to be granted advanced open water scuba diving certification.  So for our naturalist dive my marine ecology class went to Deal’s Point.  I was boat captain of the boat the Mary Alice, which means that I was in charge of operating the boat and maintaining safety of the passengers throughout our journey.  The the passengers of the Mary Alice were Jackson Rafter, Nate Smith-Ide, Margeaux Burnham, Ashley Thomas, Dorothy Long and Kristen Key.  The ride to Deal’s Point was about 25 minutes but it was worth the wait once we arrived at the dive site.  The dive was a shallow 25 feet but the patches of reef were absolutely beautiful.  To be considered a naturalist one must be a master at studying the underworld, so for our dive we were required to identify five vertebrate and invertebrate animals that we observed on or dive.   Everybody did well in identifying these creatures and did so in a way to earn their naturalist certification.  This adventure was very fun and I am sure there will be plenty more to come.


After Tuesday morning’s rigorous Run and Swim Track workouts, the whole of campus arose well rested this morning, an hour later than usual.  We looked forward to a day of Literature, Celestial Navigation, and either Human or Marine Ecology (scuba!) classes.  Unfortunately, today was not my assigned day for scuba diving, but I was able to take part in a more thorough exploration of our campus’s resources in Human Eco class.  Our current focus in this class is sustainable food production and consumption.   After being exposed to the horrors of the mass-production food industry by viewing “Food, Inc.,” we wanted to find out just how healthy and sustainable our food consumption is here at the Island School.  Our exploration started with a “behind the scenes” tour of the kitchen in the dining hall.  Our task was see how many foods contained corn – whether corn syrup, corn starch, or corn flour –  to confirm the idea that corn, one of the crops most subsidized by the U.S. government, is contained in almost all processed foods.  Through this process, we realized that even we at The Island School can make better choices when it comes to purchasing organic versus conventional food products.  Our next stop on this exploration was the farm area on campus, including the fruit garden and pig, goat, and goose pens.   The purpose of this was to understand what Permaculture design is:  a resource-consumption method that involves giving back to the land and preserving it as you utilize its resources.   We discovered that our campus already implements many aspects of Permaculture.  These include growing “forage,” or “edible” crops – our campus is abundant with plants and trees yielding tasty fruits such as sea grapes and carissa plums – minimizing use of manufactured energy, conserving water, and returning nutrients to the soil through fertilization techniques such as our “Poo Poo Garden.”  We also discovered that there is a lot more Island School can do to use 100% Permaculture design, and to become 100% organic in our food consumption by buying from local farms as opposed to relying on imported goods. 

– Heather

3 Comments leave one →
  1. James York permalink
    October 8, 2010 11:51 am

    Good job CJ!!! While it may seem simple and easy, fact is sometimes people get excited and overlook fundamental safety and logistics concerns… imagine coming up from your dive… and there’s no boat!?! Or a squall line comes through and you’re in zero visibility… which way home? Or oops, thought the other guy filled the fuel tanks…

    “The price for safety at sea is constant vigilance”

    Glad everyone could focus on the Naturalist element, knowing that primary safety was taken care of!

  2. James York permalink
    October 8, 2010 11:53 am

    You go, Heather! SUSTAINABLE all the WAY!!!!!!!

  3. October 9, 2010 11:26 am

    Hi Heather!
    You’ll be relieved to know that yesterday I went to our community coop farm to pick peppers, onion, leeks and rosemary for a big meal I’m making for Colin’s hockey tourney in Vermont this weekend (our own CJ the netminder, like your partner CJ!). I imagine our meals this summer and fall taste even better because we know our coop does not use chemical fertilizers or any other technologically-based farming methods – only the sweat of the volunteers who grow, weed, pick and wash. So sad that soon we’ll winterize the farm and have to go back to the grocery stores, and those perfect, unblemished fruits and vegetables from who knows where and what methods! Maybe less so this winter. In thinking of how you’ll miss all the late summer and fall flavors, I canned and preserved squash, beans and tomato sauce, and have cold-stored winter squash, onions, garlic and pumpkins. I’m going to assume you’ll be very picky about your food choices when you get home… and we’ll all be better off because of that. Too bad no mangos here!

    Can’t wait to see you and meet your new friends-

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