Cranleigh scientists jet to Florida!

Over the holidays, 17 budding scientists headed off to Florida. Our trip began at the Kennedy Space Centre in Orlando, where the…

Over the holidays, 17 budding scientists headed off to Florida.

Our trip began at the Kennedy Space Centre in Orlando, where the stars aligned and we were able to see a rocket launch! We joined the crowds gathered at NASA to see a spaceX rocket launch heading to restock the international space centre. We also made sure to experience all the exhibits and simulations the centre had to offer and booked in to see a talk from one of the first astronauts who travelled to space following the 2003 Columbia disaster.

From Orlando, we travelled down south to Gatorland to see the native Florida alligators up close. Then we headed down to Miami beach. In typical British style, we enjoyed a paddle in the sea and an ice cream on the shorefront in some unexpected drizzle.

The next morning, we were collected by our tour guides for a day trip around the Everglades. We headed west through a dramatic thunderstorm over the marshes whilst learning about local history, geology and politics. We stopped for a quick nature walk led by a local expert then travelled on to Everglades city. By this point the sun had come out for a boat tour of the mangroves accompanied by a friendly pod of dolphins jumping through the wake of the boats. We also managed to squeeze in an airboat tour from an indigenous family who showed us their island and gave us the opportunity to hold the baby alligators they were raising.

Our last two days were spent at a Marine lab in Key Largo to look at the local marine wildlife. After a quick swim test, we took a boat ride out to the coral reef where we snorkelled with sharks, rays and a plethora of brightly coloured fish. Our guides made sure to impress on the group the importance of these biodiverse habitats and what we could do to protect them. The evening was spent in the lab on site investigating the invertebrate populations found in Florida bay as an indication of the pollution levels in the water. The next day, we headed out on the boats again, this time into Florida bay to investigate the wildlife in the mangroves. Snorkelling through the treeline of the eerie mangroves looking for starfish and seahorses was a great final morning to our trip.

After bidding a reluctant goodbye to the marine lab, we begun our journey home, stopping off in Miami for a planetarium show at the Frost science museum in the afternoon before our overnight flight.

A wonderful trip and an incredible experience for our pupils.

Mrs Taylor, Biology Teacher

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