AP Environmental canoes down the Potomac: Photo of the Day 4/27/18


Kelsey Ward

Sarah Hall and Hannah Lemen canoe down the Potomac River.

by Kelsey Ward, Editor

On April 27, the AP Environmental class took a canoeing field trip down the Potomac River to learn more about the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Mr. Mark Sunkel took 26 students from his class, along with three Science National Honor Society students. The trip was originally scheduled for April 17 but it was rescheduled due to rain and high waters. 

The canoe trip started at the Brunswick campgrounds  near the C&O Canal. The canoe guide Mike works with River and Trail Outfitters.

The day started with an introduction to canoeing so everyone knew what they were doing when they got on the water.

The students then paired up, got their life jackets on and hit the water. They first traveled upstream, against the current, so they could all stay together and no one would get too far ahead. When the last boat was out, they practiced different steering techniques and how to control the boat.

The class then started on their six-mile journey down the river. They would stop occasionally to talk about the surroundings and ask questions.

There were multiple times when all the canoes would link together and grab onto each other’s boats, a fleet of canoes floating down the river together.

It was a time of bonding for the whole class. Those who don’t usually talk in class were helping each other out and having a good time.

About three miles into the trip, there was a small section of rapid water going between a couple of rocks. Everyone made it through successfully except Sophia Posada and Kelsey Ward.

“It was very scary being stuck on that rock. I thought that our canoe was going to flip, and we were going to miss lunch. One of the guides had to get out of her canoe to come help us,” said Posada.

The class then took a lunch break and learned about freshwater clams and invasive species. After, they continued on with the second half of their trip.

Kelsey Ward
AP Environmental goes canoeing on the Potomac River.

Before finishing, the class gathered for a final talk about the environment. The said that we don’t need to be busy rushing everywhere, and we should take one minute each day to just sit and listen.

That is exactly what the class did. They sat with their eyes closed, in complete silence and listened to everything around them, like the water, the birds and the wind. Many of the students enjoyed this time. They called it “peaceful and relaxing.”

The canoe trip ended at Point of Rocks.

“I really liked going on the canoe trip because it was interesting to learn more about nature, and it is not something I usually do,” said Posada.