Hands On Learning At The Outer Banks Field Site

The day to day routine of shuffling around from lecture hall to lecture hall at UNC-Chapel Hill can get old really quick. While lectures are an important part of the learning experience, after a year of the same old same old, I was ready to take a break from the norm and escape the traditional classroom setting. So I came to the Outer Banks.

Thus far, I have not been disappointed by my choice. The learning experience is exactly what I had hoped it would be. Instead of being stuck in a classroom for five days a week, we are often out and about, exploring the Outer Banks and learning about the coast.

Just a few weeks ago, Lindsay held ecology class outside. And what’s a better place to learn about estuarine systems than right outside of CSI, surrounded by marshland?

Views from the third floor of CSI
View from the third floor of CSI

Lectures can oftentimes become disengaging when your instructors seem to be talking about abstract topics that are hard to visualize. Thankfully, at the Outer Banks field site, the course material is right outside the window.

Lindsay trekking through the mud to show us various plant species

During her lesson on estuarine systems, Lindsay was able to first explain the adaptations that plants have to the conditions they are in, and then we all walked a hundred feet away and she showed us.

All in all, I have learned about as much outside of the classroom as I have inside, and that is how I like it. Getting outside and observing nature allows me to focus better in class, and really get the most out of my in-class experiences. Andy wasn’t lying when he said that the Outer Banks field site was different from all the other field sites. It is truly a unique, hands on experience that is very intellectually satisfying, and most importantly, fun.