Read the original story at the Chestnut Hill Local.
Late last month, Springside Chestnut Hill science teacher Elizabeth “Beta” Eaton was selected by the Ecology Project International for an eight-day Research and Education Fellowship in Mexico.
EPI, a non-profit, is dedicated to conservation and field science, through which the organization strives to advance scientific education throughout the world. While participating in this program, Eaton will have the chance to face a field course for herself.
Eaton, who has a background in oceanography and marine field research, has met this news with an excited reaction.
“I feel very honored to have been selected with a small group of peer educators for this opportunity to learn and develop my own research skills and knowledge,” she said.
Though this will certainly be a unique opportunity to study her chosen field in a somewhat different way, it also won’t be the first time that Eaton has gone south of the border in pursuit of her passion. She’s already spent a few semesters and summers down in the Caribbean, where she’s had the chance to study sea turtles and teach her students about environmental conservation.
Sea turtles will actually be playing a significant part in the Fellowship, as the specific program that Eaton will be going into is the Turtle Ecology Program. Instead of this being chosen for her, however, Eaton did have at least some say in the decision.
“During the application process, we ranked the programs that we would enjoy doing the most,” she explained. “Since I have worked with sea turtles before and they happen to be my favorite marine animal, it was my first choice.”
Eaton initially heard of EPI and the Fellowship from a colleague of hers who had previously led a separate program to Mexico with other SCH students. This colleague brought up the organization and the fellowships in a positive light, which inspired Eaton to look into the organization.
“I’m always interested about the educational mission of conservation organizations and how I can expose my students to field research,” she said.
With the Fellowship set to begin in March, Eaton is already looking forward to being in Mexico with great anticipation.
“I’m very lucky to be matched with this program where I hope to spend this time sharing ideas with other educators, returning with new and innovative techniques and increasing my students’ exposure to real issues that affect their world,” she expressed.
Looking ahead to how this might impact her career in the future, Eaton kept the focus on her classroom. She hopes to use this experience to make improvements to her class, such as making it more hands-on, incorporating experimental components into lessons and creating opportunities to do more research into the scientific fields of ecology, biology and oceanography.
With a great deal of knowledge and passion when it comes to her chosen subject matter, the EPI Fellowship looks to be a prime opportunity for Eaton to enhance both her own understanding and that of her students. Even after the program is over, she still hopes to continue this partnership with the organization so as to advance their mutual efforts in conservation and education in both Mexico and Philadelphia.