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Students travel to the Galapagos
by Savannah Weeks
sweeks@neighbornewspapers.com
September 05, 2012 10:55 AM | 1516 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, students Brandon Fountain of Marist School, Sabree   Harris of Parkview High, Alex Nichols of Lithia Springs High, Nicole Grizzle of Teasley Middle School and the group’s tour guide feed baby tortoises at a tortoise breeding center in the Galapagos Islands near South America in July.
From left, students Brandon Fountain of Marist School, Sabree Harris of Parkview High, Alex Nichols of Lithia Springs High, Nicole Grizzle of Teasley Middle School and the group’s tour guide feed baby tortoises at a tortoise breeding center in the Galapagos Islands near South America in July.
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As part of the Frank Ski Kids Foundation 2012 “Planet Green Science Excursion,” two Douglas County high-schoolers were chosen to take a weeklong educational trip to the Galapagos Islands with nine other Georgia students.

Anika Carter and Alex Nichols, both of Douglas County, traveled to the islands in the Pacific off the coast of South America July 23 and were there for six days.

Carter, who attends New Manchester High School, and Nichols got to go on the trip by winning an essay contest.

Nichols, 15, a student at Lithia Springs High School, said the Galapagos were “truly an unforgettable place.”

The group visited four islands: Isabella, Santa Cruz, Baltra and San Cristobal.

The first day of the trip was spent on San Cristobal, where the group walked through the forest and then went snorkeling.

“We got to go snorkeling at this bay,” Nichols said. “It had so many sea lions that we got to swim with. We saw so much marine life the Georgia Aquarium doesn’t even have.”

The group went snorkeling at Kicker Rock, where he said they got to swim with marine iguanas, eagle rays and sea lions.

The high-schooler said the group also got to climb the second highest mountain in the Galapagos.

“It was literally in a cloud,” said Nichols. “It was a challenge getting to the top, because it was so steep. We were all covered in mud.”

The young group was offered the chance to refine their palette while on the island, as well.

“We also got to dine on the most amazing food, like octopus fried rice. All the fish and fried bananas we ate were the best I ever had,” Nichols said. “I wish my mom could cook that good.”

Nichols said Isabella was his favorite of the islands visited.

“Isabella was the best, because we got to see Galapagos penguins and got to swim with real wild sea turtles.”

On Santa Cruz, the group visited the Charles Darwin Research Station, a biological research station operated by a foundation dedicated to the conservation of the islands’ ecosystems.

After the trip, the group was invited to speak about the trip on-air on radio station V-103 FM, where Ski is the morning host.

Nichols said the trip opened his eyes to science, as well as culture.

“The Galapagos has taught me a lot. I also learned that we do not need as much as we do, because in the Galapagos, they use so much less and are still happy. I hope to one day make America like that,” Nichols said.

"It was also my first time getting in a plane, boat or even taking MARTA. This was my adventure.”
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