AP environmental science students go beyond the classroom

BlackstoneParkphoto_smBy Izzy R. ’16

On Wednesday, September 16, the AP Environmental Science class went on a field trip to Blackstone Park in Providence.

Our goal was to learn more about the Blackstone Parks Conservancy and how a watershed can affect the health of city parks. To start the day, the class was introduced to Doug Still, the official Forester of Providence. Doug gave us a synopsis of his job and how trees improve the health of a city. As we walked down to the boulevard with Doug, he taught us how to identify different types of trees by looking at the leaves, stem, trunk, and bark. Doug also explained the importance of properly pruning a tree, so that the bark is preserved. On our way to the park, some students from the class were able to participate in pruning a tree on Lloyd Avenue.

Once we reached Blackstone Park we were introduced to Jane Peterson, the President of the Blackstone Parks Conservancy.

Jane clearly expressed her love and appreciation for the park and explained the importance of conservation. The park has a lot of plant biodiversity and the many trails allows visitors to appreciate the 44 acres and 2 ponds.

During the day, students had the opportunity to test the chemistry of both ponds and search for biological life. We found that although the two ponds are close in location, they are very different. Testing showed that Hockey Pond has higher oxygen levels, which allows a greater population of organisms. In skimming the ponds with fishing nets, students were able to catch a baby snapping turtle, multiple small fish, and a few baby dragonflies. Unfortunately, we also came across large quantities of trash and plastic. Seeing the direct effects of pollution on the ponds emphasized the severity of the situation and inspire students to make a difference.

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Students volunteer at Operation Stand Down Rhode Island

OSDRI-1By Rosemary M. ’16

My first thought when writing about this experience was, “how can I even begin to put it into words?” Operation Stand Down Rhode Island is an amazing organization that provides various services to homeless and at-risk veterans. Their motto is that they give a “hand up, not a hand out.”  Our Literature of War class spent most of the school day Friday, September 18 volunteering at their 23rd annual Stand Down weekend at Diamond Hill Park in Cumberland. The event provides legal, medical, financial, housing and general life services to veterans who spend the weekend in tents at the park. When we got there we split up into two groups. My group went to the clothing tent. We helped sort and organize different clothing and then also helped some veterans find the correct size or style that they were looking for. The veterans got a blue athletic bag to fill with whatever they needed from the tent. There are so many veterans in need that that they could only take as many items of clothing that would fit in their small bag. Seeing that really enlightened me that it is not just a couple dozen people in need in our state, it is hundreds. 

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OSDRI-4Luis and I (photo above) got the best job possible, passing out cookies during lunch… we were definitely the favorites of the group! One group helped pass out various drinks and water, and another group helped maintain the trash cans so we weren’t leaving a mess in the park. To see these men and women smiling and saying thank you to me for handing them a cookie was so touching; they are the ones who need to be thanked for their service to our country.

OSDRI-3OSDRI-5For me personally though, the most touching experience of the whole day, the time when it really hit me, was during the formal Opening Ceremony, when a group performed the Fallen Soldier Ceremony. My eyes starting tearing up seeing the American Flag, helmet, boots, gun, and dog tags of soldiers who gave their lives for this country all in the shadow of the flagpole, upon which flew the American flag, the OSDRI flag, and a flag commemorating POWs. But the real tearjerker was when the family members of those fallen soldiers were recognized. Families have to deal with the loss of a loved one every day and it was amazing to see a community of strangers comforting and honoring them. Seeing all of those people in a group with sad faces engraved in my head that freedom is not free. There are brave men and women who have died in order to protect our rights and freedoms that come with being a United States citizen. 

A fine glimpse of MB football mid-season

Football1By John Romano, MB parent

(John produces these team updates each week and shares them, along with the fantastic photos he takes, with MB football families. Now that we are well into the football season, we thought we’d publish an example of his fine work for the entire community to see.)

MB Football: MB 39, North Kingstown 13

Every once in a while there is a game which seems to have more electricity than we might expect during the regular season. Such was the case Friday night in North Kingstown. To all the players and coaches, this felt like the playoffs. Both teams came with attitude and something to prove so early in the season.

North Kingstown felt they needed to show why they went undefeated in the regular season last year yet lost in the first round of the playoffs. MB needed to vindicate our only loss (to North Kingstown!) and demonstrate why we are the champs. Friday night lights and a big fan base for both teams made this game that much more exciting.

Both teams were aggressive throughout the night, and after a slow first drive, MB began firing on 12 cylinders with all aspects of our game contributing to victory. On offense, we had some great passes with amazing catches.

One of several strikes down field.

One of several strikes down field.

We had a solid running game…

Abe bringing it all night.

Abe bringing it all night.

…which became airborne with Tyler’s three touchdown runs.

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#3 about to score for the second of three rushing touchdowns earning him Game Ball this week.

On special teams we had some great kicks and terrific down field coverage leading to a couple of fresh possessions.

The North Kingstown offense had some talent as evidenced by a few great passes and a solid running game by one of their stars, but our defense clearly prevailed. Our D-Line controlled the line of scrimmage…

That's how you wrap up!

That’s how you wrap up!

….. and our secondary had a field day… more like a summer vacation. Both Kuba and Cris each had three interceptions, Billy had another for a total of seven for the day. SEVEN.

Kuba's second pick.

Kuba’s second pick.

Moses Brown is now 2-0 in our Division. This was an important victory at many levels and the best part is the realization that we still have so many ways we will improve!

Junior Varsity

Speaking of improving, the JV players are putting together some great teamwork and really looked terrific  especially in the second half of the game on Monday. Each one of these players has come so very far since early July! Congratulations to the coaches and players on their achievement.

#34 got really stoked for this JV game.

#34 got really stoked for this JV game.

Mount Pleasant Kilties

This coming Saturday, “electric” may not be the word to describe the game atmosphere. Newer families may be unfamiliar with our team’s long and sometimes tense history with Mt. Pleasant.

Briefly, both MB and Mt. Pleasant were in Division III for many years. The Kilties were alternately competitive or less competitive. One year in particular they were struggling. Moses Brown on the other hand was stacked with incredible talent and, according to a sportswriter at the time, we were favored to win 50-0 on an incredibly cold day. To say we were stunned and humiliated when we lost that game at Conley is an understatement and something many of us will forever recall. Coach CJ remembers it well, he was a freshman on the team at that time!

Fast forward a few years, Mt. Pleasant becomes competitive with a few outstanding athletes, moves back up to D III from D IV, and beats us in a couple of really important and fiery, competitive games including the very emotional Super Bowl 2013. That one really hurt.

Last year, in our third game of the regular season after having just lost to North Kingstown the prior week with our young team, we went back to Conley Stadium for what felt like the rematch of that Super Bowl loss against Mt. Pleasant. We were fired up and came away with a supercharged emotional win. It was awesome!

That game (punctuated by Roberto’s incredible pop-up!) was the launching point for what became our incredible season of 2015.

The Kilties players and coaches know all this and they are eager to upset. We welcome them to our home (for a change) and be prepared, this will not feel warm and fuzzy.

See more of John’s photos here.

MB students visit local mosque

Today being the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha we share this curriculum highlight: Mosque2 Mosque1Conversations with Muslims in the Moses Brown community and greater Providence help students to understand the diversity of perspectives within the religion. Sophomores in Kelly Joseph’s Religious Studies class last year had the opportunity to learn about the beliefs and practices of Islam. One particular discussion took place at Masjid al-Islam in North Smithfield. Mufti Ikram ul Haq welcomed students into the mosque, explaining Muslim prayer and ritual, and answering questions about the practice of Islam in the United States.

Lower school White Mountains journey builds student curiosity, connection with natural world

By Laura Hunt, 3rd grade teacher

In 2014, Lower School launched an overnight adventure opportunity for twelve upper WhiteMoutains2elementary students. Moses Brown faculty partnered with the Appalachian Mountain Club’s education department to design an experience that would speak to our values as a Friends school. We spent four days and three nights as a team exploring the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The program’s overwhelming success led us to offer it to third and fourth graders again this year.

After a 3 ½ hour bus ride, our journey began to take shape at the Highland Center, located in Crawford Notch. Students were immediately drawn to the nature-based playground and to the good food we would enjoy throughout our stay. We were introduced to our education team, Jeremy and Tess, who reviewed our itinerary and outlined the “leave no trace” principles we would follow. Settling into our simply outfitted bunk rooms, we realized that, for some students, this was the first night they would sleep away from family members.

Our second day in New Hampshire was filled with great anticipation. In 2014, we had hiked almost two miles of rocky terrain to Lonesome Lake. This year, we had planned a longer, but less steep, trek to Zealand Falls. Each student was responsible for their own clothing and gear. They had carefully sorted and repacked only what they needed for our backcountry hike. Keeping our packs light was a priority. We shuttled to the trail head early WhiteMoutains28_smin the morning, where each student was assigned a role, such as leader, navigator, or water reminder. Resting, snacking, and playing games along the way helped us slow down time. As we distanced ourselves from the more familiar sounds and sights of the road, students’ observation skills became keener. They noticed the unique smell of the woods, the song of the hermit thrush, and the delicate lady’s slippers lining the trail.

Students’ self-reliance and problem-solving skills are put to the test when they stay at the huts. There is cold running water, but no showers. There are a few board games to play, but no phones or electronics. We sleep on bunks that are stacked three high, and we clean up after ourselves. Sometimes there are bugs. The upsides are numerous as well. Each step is met with beautiful views, we share meals and laughter with people from other places, and we get to know our schoolmates more deeply. A highlight of each trip has been a longer day hike to a more remote location. Gazing over a valley on our way to Thoreau Falls this year, one student expressed that it was “so big and so beautiful, it almost doesn’t seem real.” Impressions such as this are lasting.

Children’s curiosity and ability to make connections seem to come alive in the wilderness. Our hope is that spending uninterrupted, focused time outdoors with our students will help them feel compelled to preserve and protect natural environments. Working through authentic problems as a team will strengthen their belief in the power of their communities. The Lower School trip to the White Mountains is one way students can experience firsthand Moses Brown’s commitment to the utmost care for learning, people, and place.

Read more about MB’s TRIPs program.