Students raise money for biology trip to Bahamas

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This week's snow made seventh-grade science teacher Brynna Vogt and a few of her Craig Middle School students eager for one thing -- their August biology adventure trip to the Bahamas.

"I'm pretty excited about this trip. I'll be organizing it and acting as a chaperone. We're going to spend six days on Eleuthera Island doing a scientific program through Wild Studies."

Aug. 3 to 9 may seem like a long way away, but each in the group of eight students needs to start raising the $1,800 total trip cost right now.

"I'll probably be babysitting, walking dogs. As a group, we'll might do a spaghetti dinner and a dance here at the school to raise money," eighth-grader Adrienne Petch said.

"We've been brainstorming a ton of ideas, but won't know for sure the exact details until after spring break," said Vogt.

Although the group of students has not determined whether they will host a Mexican-fare or spaghetti dinner, bake sale or craft bazaar, much of the group, split evenly between seventh and eighth-graders, already has begun planning.

"I'm going to sell lots and lots of chocolate. That's how I got to see Washington, D.C.," eighth-grader Kasey Brown said.

The trip cost will cover the flight, lodging and the Wild Studies "eco-educational adventure program." Taught through the Institute for Ecological Field Studies for the last 15 years, the program will teach Vogt's students about marine biology and tropical ecology by studying Eleuthera's fragile environments.

"The kids will have labs and workshop sessions at night briefing them on the biological aspects of what they'll see the next day, along with some history and culture, then we'll get to explore the coral reefs, caves and rainforests during the day," Vogt said.

"It's going to be so much fun," seventh-grader Katie Ellgen said.

Vogt isn't too worried about the kids cutting loose and losing their academic focus on the island.

"They're all good kids. We had 40 kids interested originally, but to be invited on the trip, they had to show interest in biology and have good grades and outstanding teacher recommendations," Vogt said.

For now, the group only can stare at the map, dream of sun and try not to make the students who have to stay home too jealous.

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