Julie Stratton, Teacher
Cape May County Technical School
Cape May, New Jersey
What happens when even the best-laid plans don’t work out? You change the plans. That’s what high school students at Cape May Technical did when a severe winter ruined their hard work. They had made extensive preparations for building a sustainable natural habitat for rescued turtles, which are endangered in the area. Then nearby construction forced a location change, cold weather destroyed the grounds and too many snow days played havoc with the schedule. But as the students discovered, setbacks are part of the process.
Since the students couldn’t complete the habitat during the school year, they decided to build a model habitat to teach incoming students, who would then continue the project year after year. Another habitat, for native plants and monarch butterflies, was added to complement the original. All the students’ initial research, designs and proposal presentations paid off in an ongoing, interdisciplinary project with benefits for the school, the turtles and the environment.