Environmental Science Field Studies

Students participating in the Environmental Science Field Studies (ESFS) program spend time during the school year learning about the geology, ecology, and culture of a particular region through readings, lectures, and independent research; their learning culminates in a weeklong trip to that region. The biennial trip takes place during the spring vacation, alternating years with the Costa Rica Field Studies program.

The ESFS program debuted in the 2016–2017 school year with a focus on the American Southwest; participants studied southwestern geology, ecology, and culture during the school year, and then spent a week in Nevada, Arizona, and Utah visiting Zion, Grand Canyon, and Bryce National Parks. 

The 2018–2019 ESFS program focused on Iceland. Participating students spent time during the school year studying Iceland’s geology, ecology, genetics, and culture through readings, lectures, independent research, and meeting with Icelandic officials at the UN such as policy specialist at the Executive Office in the UN Development Programme, Anna Hjartardottir, and Icelandic Ambassador to the United Nations, Bergdís Ellertsdóttir. After their preparations, students traveled with three of their teachers to Iceland for a week during the 2019 spring vacation.

ESFS is open to Nightingale students who will be in Classes VII and VIII during the year of the program. Criteria for selection include the student’s application, maturity, interest in science, and past academic performance. Participation in the ESFS program is an honor, as well as a commitment. Selected students are asked to prepare for the trip by reading provided materials about their destination, researching local geology, ecology, and culture, and presenting their research findings to the group. They also meet regularly during clubs period during the spring semester to attend lectures on various topics and to discuss details of the trip.