Last summer, AOIT’s very own Biology teacher, Jeff Derda, took a trip into the Jungles of Peru where he got to witness an entire ecosystem working around him.
Through the Educators of Excellence program at the North Carolina Natural History Museum in Downtown Raleigh, Mr. Derda was chosen to take a trip to Peru with a group of other science and biology teachers from North Carolina to explore the Amazon and take a closer look at the ecosystem in the forest.
Mr. Derda got the chance to test water quality, air temperature, water temperature, dissolved oxygen levels, water salinity, and also take a look at plant and animal species inhabiting the forest.
He also got to see a Pink River Dolphin, which he says is a super rare sight! Not only did he see the river dolphins but he also saw tons of different insects, including this Blue Morpho Butterfly. Mr. Derda says there were thousands and thousands of insects that you definitely don’t see in North Carolina, like walking sticks and huge tarantulas.
While Mr. Derda was traveling, he got to stay in various villages around Peru, where he ate and learned all kinds of interesting things about life in Peru and Peruvian culture. He learned a lot about what it is like to live in an area where there isn’t any freshwater or power, things we often take for granted here in the U.S. The group travelled with chefs who cooked them meals based on the food that they either gathered or were provided with along their journey!
As well as culture, the group often saw monkeys and large jungle birds like Toucans flying around. Not only that, but there were also animals like jaguars, sloths, and bats too. All the pictures of the wildlife included in this article were taken by Mr. Derda himself. Quite the photographer, Mr. Derda!
There are tons of other pictures that Mr. Derda took that he has laminated in his classroom!
The trip was already halfway taken care of by the Museum, and with AOIT’s No-Nonsense fundraiser, a huge chunk of the remaining cost of the trip was also taken care of.
The No-Nonsense Fundraiser helped Mr. Derda bring a new aspect of learning to our students in AOIT. Now that he’s experienced what it is he’s teaching students about, he can relate more of his lesson material to the things he witnessed and traveled through while he was in Peru. Not only is it refreshing to bring in real-world examples, but it increases interest in the students when they’re learning in the classroom.
Big thanks to the No-Nonsense fundraiser and the North Carolina Natural History Museum Educators of Excellence program for giving Mr. Derda the chance to go on this awesome adventure. And thank you to those who contribute to the No-Nonsense fundraiser at Apex High!