Barbuda’s greatest natural resources are the rich culture, fascinating history, and unique biodiversity. This summer from June 15-30, students from Sir McChesney George Secondary School are helping to record, preserve and publicise all three.
Working with Dr Sophia Perdikaris, the Barbuda Archaeological Research Center (BARC), and graduate students from Teachers College, Columbia University, 20 Barbudan students are participating in the GPS+Camera Project. The GPS+Camera Project gives high school students opportunities to do original research in their communities.
Barbudan students are examining the question of “How has Codrington Village changed over time?” in the biology, social studies, and history classes. Students in biology class will research mangroves near Codrington Village. The students, led by Maggie Morrison of Teachers College, Columbia University, are examining ecosystem productivity to understand how the mangroves help Barbuda today. They will also conduct oral history interviews with elders in the village to see how Barbudans used the mangroves in the past.
In history class, students, led by Dan McGovern of Teachers College, Columbia University, are using primary sources, artifacts from recent excavations, interpretation of historic structures, and interviews with community elders and archaeologists to understand how and why Codrington Castle changed over time.
In social studies class, students, led by Mike Cornell of Teachers College, Columbia University, are using oral history interviews and the historic site of Indigo Well to examine how and why animal husbandry practices on Barbuda changed over time. Barbuda has an incredible culture, history and ecology. Getting students involved in research is essential.
“We’ve been supported by our many invaluable Barbudan partners in doing groundbreaking research on Barbuda for six years – and that’s fantastic,” Dr Perdikaris said.
“But in five or 10 years, Barbudans should be leading and directing the research that happens on their island and I think the GPS+Camera Project is a great way to get students interested in research.”
Student research will be recorded with a Global Positioning System (GPS) and a camera. Those projects will be uploaded to the GPS+Camera Website (similar to a combination of Googlemaps and Facebook), which will allow students to publish their work online.
We are currently discussing collaborations with schools in Scotland, Iceland and the United States who would also do research in their communities and publish that research to the GPS+Camera Website.
Eventually, Barbudan students could have the opportunity to do important original research in their communities, publish that information to a global audience, and engage in online discussions about their research with sister schools in other countries.
This is the first summer that high school students are participating in the GPS+Camera Project. After the summer pilot project, students will begin a year-long GPS+Camera Project in which they examine one question about Barbuda in biology, geography, social studies, history, mathematics, agricultural sciences and home economics.
As the GPS+Camera Project expands, the Barbuda Archaeological Research Center (BARC) will also expand its involvement by improving its scientific research equipment at its field station in Codrington.
In March of 2012, BARC installed a NASA-funded weather station on Barbuda, the data from which will be used by students in the GPS+Camera Project and by the wider Barbudan community.
In the future, the BARC station plans to add an experimental aquaponics facility (which raises fish and vegetables using the same water) and a botanic garden – both of which will be used to support student research and learning in the GPS+Camera Projects.
The BARC station is also developing a museum on Barbuda in collaboration with the Barbuda Council to ensure that artifacts stay on Barbuda and that research is made available to the Barbudan public.
For information, please check out the website at www.herc.ws.gc.cuny.edu or contact Dr. Sophia Perdikaris at email@example.com.