Academic Immersion 2019: Pilots Explore Ecuador and Yellowstone National Park | Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School


Academic Immersion 2019: Pilots Explore Ecuador and Yellowstone National Park

Quito, Ecuador

Science was the main focus of the Academic Immersion opportunities offered to SJND students over the 2019 Easter Break, which included trips to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, and Yellowstone National Park.

Each year, SJND offers its students the opportunity to discover a new country (or countries) through partnering with educational tour organizations on an international trip. This year’s trip, led by Mrs. Kristina Taylor, brought over 30 students to South America to explore Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

Students and faculty began their trip in Quito, Ecuador’s capital city high up in the Andean foothills, where they visited the Santo Domingo Monastery and the Intinan Museum. Participants also had the unique opportunity to stand in both hemispheres at the same time during their visit to the equatorial line.

The group then embarked on a five-day tour around the Galapagos Islands, stopping at some of the same locations where Charles Darwin conducted the research that led to his theory of evolution. The group saw an abundance of wildlife while snorkeling and hiking, and spent time learning about the giant tortoises from which the islands took their name.

Blue-Footed Boobies

Meanwhile, Ms. Laura Diaz led a delegation of students to Yellowstone National Park where students became park researchers for the week while learning more about scientific process, wildlife biology and wildlife tracking methods. The course, led by Ecology Project International, combined classes with field activities, including snowshoeing and hiking, observing wildlife in Lamar Valley, and exploring some of the park’s geothermal features.

The group was fortunate to see many bison on the trip, an amazing sight to see and the focus of much of their research, specifically, how the animal shares the land with other ungulates like elk, mule deer, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep.

Data collected during their trip will help biologists better understand how the park’s ungulate species share the landscape as they search for food, water, and protection from predators. They will also present their findings to their AP Environmental Studies (APES) classmates.

SJND is proud to offer our students unique experiences that enable learning outside the classroom. Next year, a group of SJND students and faculty will journey into the heart of Central America to experience Costa Rica and Panama.

Click here to view additional photos from the Ecuador and Galapagos Islands Trip


Click here to view the Yellowstone National Park Trip photo album