Teachers make traveling an educational adventure

ARDMORE, Pa. - October 5, 2012

They have taken their teaching skills from the classroom to excursions in Spain, Ecuador, and Costa Rica.

"I still get my teaching fix every day," said Crawford Hill.

Crawford Hill taught biology at Episcopal Academy for 35 years.

He took groups of Episcopal Academy juniors and seniors on trips to Costa Rica for 13 years, before getting an opportunity to purchase the company that sponsored the adventures in 2010.

"Partnering with my colleague and friend, Eddie Rodriguez, I knew we could do it and do it well," said Hill.

Rodriguez was a Spanish teacher at Episcopal Academy for more than a decade.

"You can't beat it when you actually take them out into the environment," said Rodriguez. "The city, the culture, being out with the people; you can't replicate that in the classroom."

For two weeks, Hill and Rodriguez immerse their travelers in the local eco-system. They participate in service projects including painting newly-built schools, and they haul bamboo to build a nursery for reforestation.

Hill says it turns a vacation into a unique learning experience, with some kids even getting to extract juice from sugar cane on a local organic farm.

"Getting to meet the local indigenous people who would show us their own back yard was really neat," said Billy Tierney. "An authentic experience is what I took from it."

"I met a lot of people in my group that I wasn't real close with in high school. We came back as the best of friends," said Nate Wineland.

And several of Hill's students are now employees.

"A lot of my family and friends are all doing the New York City grind, and I knew that wasn't for me," said Wendy Brown.

Hill's Episcopal Academy trip had such a positive impact on Harvard grad, Audrey Ziomek, that it sparked a career in environmental education.

"I contacted him to see if I could work on my Master Thesis with him, and it just worked out perfectly," said Ziomek.


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