In their final year of high school, 12th grade students are ready to synthesize knowledge and experiences. They begin to ask questions such as, “Who am I?” and “Who do I wish to become?” as they take steps to forge their own path in the world.
The 12th grade curriculum is designed to help them build the skills and confidence to answer these questions. For example, in Zoology and Evolution, they explore the emergence of the individual out of nature. They also explore their role as stewards of nature by reading articles like “The Liver of the River” by Jason Anthony.
In this article, the 12th graders learned about the crucial role of freshwater mussels in our ecosystem and their endangered state and then had a chance to deepen their understanding by partnering with the Little Miami Conservancy. During a recent trip, students had the opportunity to participate in Citizen Science and support the Conservancy's efforts to learn about and help maintain the Little Miami Mussel population.
(below) Getting ready for takeoff at Loveland Canoe and Kayak
Students began by surveying the riverbank for mussel shells and identiffying them.
(above) Lola Stone and Bill Schroder with collected shells
(below) Kenzie Storms searches for shells
They also helped collect eDNA samples of the water to send to a lab and determine what species of mussels are present.
(above) Reading the monitor to survey the bottom of the river.
Check out this video that Bill Schroeder created. It gives a wonderful big picture of the work they are doing.
The seniors then took the inspiration from their Little Miami trip to Hermit Island, Maine, where they spent a week studying Marine Biology with other Waldorf Seniors from across the country. This included a reading by Jason Anthony the very author that inspired their freshwater mussel work!
Image of Mud Flats at the Hermit Island Campground in Phippsburg Maine
Our goal for the 12th grade is to send students out into the world equipped with tools that empower them to start creating and becoming the person they want to be — and hands-on experiences like the ones they had on the Little Miami and in Maine are fundamental to that process. After all ...
Our greatest work of art is the life that we live!