Palmetto students explore Fairchild on Immersion Day

Meryl Kornfield, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Using lab equipment, sketching native Florida plants, counting Orchid seeds and  identifying palm species counted among the innumerable lessons taught to students at this year’s Environmental Immersion Day.

“I learned that catching butterflies is the hardest thing ever,” sophomore Kaylee de Soto said.

Ten Palmetto students arrived that humid Tuesday morning on November 25th with expectations. Some thought that the day was just a good excuse to get out of class, while others sought to gain more from the excursion. Palmetto graduate, Sara Edelman, the Palm and Cycad Manager at Fairchild Gardens, taught students about the terminology of Palms.

“I really like sharing knowledge with students and seeing their perspective change, Edelman said. “When they first started, they said that they were just here for a field trip. By the end, they didn’t want to leave.”

Edelman also made appeals to the Palmetto students in her section to explore science. She felt like her high school education prepared her for her future degrees. Currently, she is preparing for her PhD.

“I loved my time at Palmetto. I had really great teachers who encouraged me to learn,” Edelman said.

Many of the mentors that students met had a variety of educational backgrounds. While some students visited the labs with biologists,  others practiced field studies with ecologists.

“We all came to where we are in different ways. This shows students how anyone can have an opportunity to explore these careers,” Fairchild Challenge Programs coordinator Danielle Palow said. “My favorite part about the immersion day is being able to talk to [students] and learn about where [they] want to go next.”

However each professional came into their field, everyone at the event shared a similar passion: science. Students, scientists and teachers worked with each other and shared ideas.

“Interacting with scientists made me feel like a scientist myself for a fleeting moment,” junior Jaewon Moon said. “I was able to imagine myself in that sort of setting in the future and think about a potential career in the sciences.”