Elizabeth Jean’s crew were early converts to the power of experiential learning. In sixth grade, at the instruction of her teacher Mr. Kolb, Lal brought home a muskrat skull and boiled it clean. Her love for hands-on biology dates from that early lesson. Eric’s mother, the Muz, cofounded the Junior Museum, an early form of the “do-touch” school of learning, which became Eric’s second home. In the intervening years, Echo Hill, Outward Bound, NOLS, and Salish Sea Expeditions variously fed Lal or Eric’s experiential learning jones. Thus, Eleuthera’s Island School, an experiential learning center on steroids, became a pilgrimage of sorts for our island visit. Our half day tour of the school’s campus introduced us to the ways that it seeks to answer the central question it poses to its students” “How do we live well in a place?”
The Island School begins its quest for living well in a place by providing a spectacular place in which to be immersed. Reef ecology and boat-based exploration are part of the curriculum. Each course, whether in the science or humanities, includes a field component.
Modeling sustainability is central to the school’s mission.
Bicycles provide student transportation.
Recycled bottles provide light portals to this shop building.
To fuel the school’s motor vehicles it operates its own biodiesel facility.
Samuel, a former student turned biodiesel plant operator explains the its operation. The green containers, filled with used vegetable oil, come from cruise ships visiting Eleuthera. The school also works with local restaurants to obtain its crude inventory.
When we say “crude” we mean crude. This bucket contains the used oil in all its unrefined beauty.
The refined product looks good enough to drink, but don’t.
The associated Cape Eleuthera Institute includes a hydroponic agriculture lab.