The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

The Student News Site of Ocean Lakes High School

The Current

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MSA students adventure through Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Students and teachers continue their five mile hike in Cades Cove on April 11, 2024. Open fields like this were often littered with wild turkeys.

Twenty-four MSA biology students and four science teachers flew 550 miles to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They learned about the environment and history of the region and stayed at the park from April 10-12, 2024.   

Teachers Jeremy Schratweiser, Michele Bailey-Hennesy, David Bostic and Jordan Jarman planned, organized and prepared the students for the annual trip. 

The students spent their hours at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont (GSMIT), slept in dorms and ate meals together. GSMIT hosts camps and classes for kids year-round. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park receives over 13.2 million visitors every year, and it is the most visited national park in the country, according to Smithsonian Magazine. 

During their expedition, the students explored the wildlife and insects of the area. They waded through the Middle Prong River looking for macroinvertebrates and surveyed creeks for salamanders. 

Hiking on switchback trails through the mountains was another feature of the trip; however, the skies opened up with a downpour of rain during their excursions.

“My favorite part was probably when it finally stopped training after a while, and we all sat on a hill in the sun together,” said sophomore Evie Lamora. 

Rising MSA sophomores interested in the field trip next year should contact any one of the teachers mentioned. 

“I would recommend this trip for anyone who likes nature, and is okay with getting really wet and dirty,” said Evie Lamora. 

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About the Contributor
Natalie Ritz
Natalie Ritz, Design Editor
Natalie Ritz is a sophomore in the Math and Science Academy, and a first-year journalism student. Natalie is the fourth of five siblings, and enjoys all things summer and outdoors. Outside of school, she enjoys baking, shopping and going to the beach with friends. Natalie loves weight lifting and hiking. One thing that always makes her smile is her goofy golden retriever named Brandy.

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