Photo by Jerry Jackson/Special
Rex Mill Middle School teacher Janice Mitchell with Dorian Minter as the two check calculations on a science exercise.
By Jerry Jackson
special to Clayton News Daily
REX — Dorian Minter, an eighth-grade student at Rex Mill Middle School, has her sights set on being a scientist — a notion she has held since elementary school — and her recent trip to the Galápagos Islands added much to her insatiable desire to study the environment in her much-loved field.
Minter’s interest was in studying the atmospheric conditions of the islands, focusing specifically on the climate and how it is affected by cool water temperatures that permeate local waterways. “I was also interested in learning something about the special migration patterns of the creatures found on the islands,” she said.
Minter was especially excited about exploring the islands where she had an opportunity to see the Sleeping Lion Rock Formation, which was formed by islands that have long since been lost to the sea, and to search for marine life throughout the islands made famous by naturalist Charles Darwin.
She and 10 other students from schools in metro Atlanta toured the islands and searched for starfish, crabs, flamingos, giant tortoises, sea lions, and more as they spent six days exploring Isla Lobos, San Cristobal, Cerro Crocker Mountain, Iguana Crossing, Isabela, and other locations in the Galápagos.
The 18 volcanic islands, located off the coast of Ecuador, were devoid of life until species migrated there over several centuries.
“The Galápagos Islands are beautiful and exciting,” Minter said, “and the people are friendly and more unified. They don’t watch much television there, unless a soccer game is shown. They will shut down everything and watch a soccer game. Otherwise, they are outside walking their dogs and doing other things.”
The fruits and food there were fresh, she added, especially the seafood. “Being really fresh gave the food a slightly different taste from that we have at home,” Minter said.
Minter learned about the Galápagos trip when her father told her about the Frank Ski Kids Foundation’s Essay Contest and Excursion to the Galápagos Islands.
“Writing comes naturally to me and I have been entering contests since way back when,” Minter said. “I had never been out of the country before and I was curious to see what it is like. So, I entered the contest.”
The islands were more breathtaking than Minter thought they would be. “I wish that others in my class could go and experience what I saw,” she said. “I will go again if I have the opportunity.”
But for now, Minter said, she would learn more about science and make this trip work to her best advantage.