Class V Takes On Ecological Research At Woods Hole

Class V boys were eager to return to the annual, springtime science investigation trip to Woods Hole, after a two-year, pandemic-induced hiatus. Roxbury Latin’s hosts for this trip are affiliated with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), located on the southeastern point of Cape Cod. For nearly 20 years, this hands-on experience has been a popular culmination of students’ fourth marking period studies in their Introduction to Physical Science (IPS) course, providing a complement to a spring unit focused on freshwater quality and local/global challenges that relate to this critical resource.

While in Woods Hole, students—accompanied by IPS faculty Paul Sugg and Jackie Salas—spent an hour on a boat used by WHOI for its scientific research. Using sampling nets they collected organisms from the sandy ocean bottom close to shore to handle, examine up close, and learn about some of the oceanic flora and fauna. Students were also treated to a fascinating talk by Bill Mebane, a leader at WHOI in the field of sustainable aquaculture. He shared with the group his team’s successful efforts in providing a sustainable source of protein for rural Haitians.

“The entire day has great value to the boys,” says Mr. Sugg. “They enjoyed a chance to learn and to get out on the water after being cooped up by the pandemic. Just being away from campus, as a class, is a good way to spend a day, but being able to experience, firsthand, the life and work of a major research community—that’s invaluable. They get a sense of how significant Woods Hole is in the world of biological research, and this exploration is a terrific, real-life extension of what we’re discussing in class.”