By Lucy Kwittken
On Tuesday, October 16th, and Thursday, October 18th, more than 100 Earth Science students took a field trip to Bear Mountain. The students gathered in the cafeteria at 8:00 AM to have their first ever high school field trip!
At a frigid 43 degrees, students endured a 50-minute bus ride to Bear Mountain State Park in Rockland County, New York. While students were there, they had to determine the circumference of the earth using a method developed by Eratosthenes back in 240 B.C.E (but with today’s GPS). In addition to the circumference activity, the students discovered why contour lines bent while crossing a stream. Mr. Twardy, an earth science teacher at Byram, explains how “by using rope and tape and having hands-on activities, kids can have a deeper understanding of how to read topographic maps.” Shortly after, students walked down the mountain to visit The Bear Mountain Zoo. In the zoo, there were all of the indigenous species to New York State such as bobcats and bears. An exciting geology museum was located under the zoo where students walked around and learned about how Bear Mountain formed. After the students had lunch, they headed to an observation tower hovering over the mountains. From the tower, they could see New York City and the Catskill Mountains. They finally wrapped up the trip by looking for evidence of glaciation on the mountains in the form of parallel scratches.
Bear Mountain was the ideal place for this trip: it’s beautiful, has many geological features, and was relatively close. One individual who went on the trip, however, pointed out that “if the weather had been warmer, maybe [she] would’ve enjoyed it more.” However, most people didn’t mind the cold. Freshman Joelle Margolin revealed how “Bear Mountain was interesting, and it helped [her] expand [her] knowledge regarding topographic maps.”
For students who are going to Bear Mountain next year, one piece of advice is to bring layers and check the weather beforehand, so you come prepared. Another piece of advice is to know what you are learning about BEFORE the field trip happens, as this can make it easier to complete the labs. This trip has helped many students connect their knowledge of science to the outside world; it’s definitely a trip you do not want to miss! Until next year Bear Mountain!