APES Students Exploring Beyond the Classroom.


Emma Sarhaddi

Students at the Cross Bar Ranch.

Ella Infanger, Staffer

It can be quite challenging to understand nature sitting in a classroom. That’s why the AP Environmental Science class had the opportunity to travel to the Cross Bar Ranch and be exposed to the life that makes up our Earth. This educational field trip allowed students to observe and learn about the animals, plants, water bugs, and soil kept at the ranch facility. APES is a class offered here at Sunlake that dives into sustainability, interactions between species, earth systems, and more. Students in this class traveled out to Cross Bar Ranch, home to 17 wells that produce 22.5 million gallons of water per day. “We got to view layers of soil, run a net in the water to find small aquatic species, identify types of pine trees, and view animals such as the turkey, deer, burrowing owl, scrub jays, cows, and more on a safari bus,” explained junior Sienna Sheppard. She enjoyed the numerous activities offered at the facility. One aspect of the trip that stood out to Sienna, was she “learned a surprising amount about pine trees.” Other than that, Sienna shared that majority of the trip “was just a refresher of what you learn in APES itself like the layers of soil, the river, relationships between animals, and more.” The field trip sparked curiosity in students and deepened their understanding. Students could apply what they had learned in class in the real world. Above all, Sienna shared that her “favorite part was most definitely the safari bus because it was fun to ride around and feel the wind on your face while searching for animals with your binoculars.” The world is a vast place of buzzing life and curiosity. The field trip was a success and students enjoyed having the outside world be their classroom for the day.


A scrub jay at the Cross Bar Ranch through a pair of binoculars. (Sienna Sheppard)