To provide students with the opportunity to complete service hours, science department chair Mike Bielski took students to Indiana Dunes National Park. Volunteer students included Liam Cummane, Seamus Heneghan, Alexander Sotelo, Kara Amaro, David Chavez, Malcolm Kelly, and Jakub Sniegula. The students, most of whom had never experienced working on a farm, planted tomatoes, spinach, beets, cucumbers, beans, and several flowering plants at Chellberg Farm. Ranger Jim discussed his career journey and spoke regarding careers within the National Park System. Mike Bielski said, “Watching our mud-soaked and exhausted students listen attentively to a park ranger as he described possible career pathways for their future was spectacular.” After leaving the farm, the group ate lunch and then traveled to West Beach where they picked-up trash, skipped stones, and fossil-hunted to wrap up the day.
History teacher Pat DiFilippo also participated in the service trip. He said, “What a great learning experience! Students worked with their hands to create a beautiful garden from scratch. Students learned about the distance needed between plants, measured and marked out lines with twine, laid out hay to help fertilize, and watered their newly planted crops.” Many students commented they had fun as volunteers. Seamus Heneghan discovered that “carrots are really hard to take out of the flat” while others described planting as “very calming.”