Saint Francis Students Find Beauty and Inspiration in Iceland

Saint Francis Students Find Beauty and Inspiration in Iceland

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From walking across glaciers to hiking in lava fields, Saint Francis High School students, teachers and a parent were inspired by the splendor of Iceland to become more responsible caretakers of the planet when they recently explored this Nordic country.

Science teacher and department chair Jennifer Thomas organized this trip, in which 41 students, four teachers and one parent took part, with the hope that participants would be stronger advocates for the environment. The group spent five days in Iceland during the Easter break.

Highlights included seeing beautiful waterfalls, touring Reykjavik and taking a dip in the steamy waters of the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa. One reason Ms. Thomas wanted to take a group to Iceland was to introduce students to the ways in which the country is a leader in green energy. In addition to their sightseeing, the group also visited a geothermal energy plant and a horse and tomato farm running on geothermal energy.
“I think if you asked anyone of us, we’d all respond that it was an awesome, amazing trip,” Ms. Thomas said. “It was unlike any place I’d ever visited, and I want to go back to spend more time there.”

Another motivation for the trip was the all-school summer reading book, “The Sixth Extinction,” sponsored by the science department. One of the chapters in the book describes the great auk, a bird that was hunted to extinction. The last known pair of this species was killed off of the coast of Iceland in the 1800s. As a reminder of the importance to care for the environment, the Saint Francis group took a picture of themselves standing next to a statue of the great auk.

“I think the students really liked seeing that chapter in the book come alive, and I hope it fosters environmental stewardship in them,” Ms. Thomas said.