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RE science team travels to Fiji for summer expedition

Six upper school students and two recent RE graduates traveled to Fiji on a biodiversity field expedition June 10-28 that enabled them to conduct research and work alongside world-renowned scientists while attending college-level lectures and enjoying a cultural and natural-world immersion.
Kennedy Hagen ’24, Teimour Asghar ’24, Gabriela Martinez ’24, Erick Gross ’24, Maya Karai ’24, Theo Valles Picon ’25 and recent grads Dominique Smith ’22 and Kerryn Xu ’22 flew with Director of Environmental Sustainability Kelly Jackson and middle school science teacher Gus Palacios to Nadi, Fiji, on the expedition organized by Operation Wallacea, a climate research organization.
 
The summer trip began with two nights in the village of Drekeniwai, where the travelers were greeted with floral garlands and Fijan songs and dance. The RE contingent received several fun tutorials from their hosts, who taught them how to make a traditional lovo feast and weave mats and other household items. 
 
The students and faculty also spent five nights camping at a forest site, conducting bird point count surveys, bug surveys, butterfly surveys and carbon surveys during the day, and enjoying evening lectures on topics ranging from endemic species and ecology to leveraging carbon credits and biodiversity credits for conservation efforts. 
 
During the final week, the RE travelers stayed in homestays in the village of Vusaratu on the coast of Natewa Bay. The week included a Pacific Reef Ecology course in which students earned their PADI South Pacific Coral Reef Ecology Specialty Diving Certification and had the opportunity to scuba dive on untouched reefs daily. Students learned to identify corals and fish, and also how to conduct a benthic transect survey. 
 
There were interesting moments throughout. The students enjoyed the pristine reefs, animated forests, starry skies with shooting stars and bats at sunset. They also had the opportunity to connect with university students from Singapore, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Australia and other countries.

“The experience was transformative and inspiring with authentic and rich learning at every turn,” Palacios said. “Each of the students had an incredible journey and will have memories to reflect on for years to come: Interactions with nature, science, culture.”
 
Ransom Everglades is considering another summer adventure in 2023. For more information, please contact Jackson.
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Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.