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Natural Awakenings Rhode Island

Our Place by the Sea

Our Place by the Sea

by Josh Laplante and Owen Jones

At The Greene School, in West Greenwich, students are given opportunities to take part in hands-on learning with experts in the environmental industry for the purpose of research and problem solving. Grade 12 fieldwork has consisted of working with Save the Bay in exploring marsh ecosystems and the implications of climate change and sea level rise. 

The students had the opportunity to meet with marine biologists, oceanographers, geologists and historians on Block Island to “learn naturally” outside of the classroom as a kickoff immersion into the expedition titled Our Place by the Sea. These firsthand experiences provide the foundation needed to more deeply investigate compelling real-world topics. Students are often pushed outside of their comfort zones when changing learning environments and getting their hands dirty, which fosters a greater responsibility for learning.

The students’ final products will be presented at the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Institute, using student designed scientific posters that outline their research and data highlighting the indicators of ecosystem health and sustainability. The Greene School mission is to develop citizens and leaders engaged in finding peaceful and sustainable solutions to local and global challenges through a hands-on approach to learning. 

Save the Bay is now celebrating 50 years of protecting and improving Narragansett Bay. To learn about bringing Save the Bay’s environmental education programs into your schools, call 401 272-3540 X133 or visit

Josh Laplante is head of school and Owen Jones is a student in grade 12 at The Greene School.