More than 50 Herkimer Central School District earth science students will take a field trip on Monday, April 8, to Erin Park in Boonville with earth science teacher Kathryn Lister to view the total solar eclipse.

At the Boonville location, students will be able to view the eclipse in totality. During the eclipse, students will watch for mammal, bird and insect behavior and report data from their observations to NASA as part of widespread data collection NASA is conducting.

“It’s kind of like a science experiment that they’re going to be part of,” Lister said.

The Herkimer earth science students, most of which are in 10th grade, have been learning about the eclipse in earth science since fall 2023 leading up to this field trip.

About 16 students volunteered to develop presentations about the eclipse – with separate presentations for elementary students and for middle school and high school students. The presentations focused on what the eclipse is, the path of totality, when other eclipses will occur, how to safely view the eclipse using glasses the students handed out and more.

“We’ve been working on this, and we’ve been talking about this since the fall,” Lister said. “They’ve been working very hard on their presentations.”

Earth science students also developed images with QR codes to hang around the school – linking to fun facts about the eclipse and information about how to use the safety glasses – as another way to increase interest and awareness of the eclipse.

Lister said she guided students as they got started on these eclipse projects, and then the students took it from there.

“They took the lead and did a really good job,” she said.

Herkimer 10th graders Brayden Fogg and Lavon Linen teamed up for their presentations on the eclipse – including visiting the elementary school on Thursday, March 28, with other earth science students. The students eagerly presented what they learned about the eclipse and showed students in detail how to wear their safety glasses.

Fogg and Linen said they’ve enjoyed learning and presenting about the eclipse leading up to the field trip.

“We talked about the totality and what towns are going to see it and what towns will not see the totality,” Linen said, mentioning that the eclipse can be seen in totality in Boonville but not in Herkimer.

Herkimer Central School District doesn’t have school on Monday, April 8, but the students taking the trip will be leaving for Boonville in the morning and staying through the afternoon to view the eclipse. They have been encouraged to bring items from home such as a blanket and a football to relax and play games throughout the day.

Both students said they are looking forward to the experience.

“I think it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some people,” Fogg said. “It’s a pretty cool sight to see.”

Linen agreed.

“It’s pretty cool,” Linen said. “Just hanging out with people and watching the solar eclipse.”