Marine Biology - Trip to Cuba!

Spring and Summer 2018

This was by far the best off-site learning experience that I’ve ever had. I’ve heard so many great things about this trip and thought that I should give it a try. I’m so glad that I took up this experience and that I was able to explore my interests, and after this course and trip marine biology is doubtlessly still one. This was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity because I don’t know many other people who have been snorkeling at a place like North Rock or who have seen the most amazing and interesting looking fish like we did. One thing in particular about this trip that’s great is the ability to do hands-on work about something that you’re really passionate about. Something about taking fish data for an actual corporation made it seem so much more interesting and knowing that all our data was being used professionally made me feel like I was actually making an impact. There aren’t many suggestions that I can give for future trips because everything that we did was unbelievably cool! The trip next year sounds absolutely incredible and the opportunity to go to Cuba for two weeks and get dive certified doesn’t come around too often. I love seeing that learning is taking a different path than it used to because there’s something special about an experience like this for something that you’re passionate about. Thank you, Brian, for taking so much time out of your life to provide a truly incredible experience for kids all over Vermont and for helping to make a difference in our environment. Your passion about our environment and ocean is so inspiring and I hope there are more people out there who want to help our environment and grow up to become so passionate like you are! Thank you again for all of this!


2017 Trip Participant

Thanks for investigating Marine Biology!

This Marine Biology course offered by VTVLC is a 1 credit course taught by Brian Slopey. This is a hybrid course with online and face-to-face learning. The online portion will run from January – May; We will also have a few meetings and classes during this time. In late June we will have 2 intensive days to prepare us for our research with Operation Wallacea, followed by the trip to Cuba in July and finally, a time for reflections on research in August.


During the 2-week expedition in Cuba, students will identify the abundance of macro-invertebrate species, execute lion fish dissections, monitor manatees, participate in shark tagging and collect fish data.
This course is available for grades 9-12. College credit is available for students who are interested! All students will receive SCUBA training and certification.

You will need to obtain good quality fins, mask and a snorkel. Waterfront Diving in Burlington will give you 10% discount if you tell them you are in the VTVLC Marine Biology class. Also, many of our students have been able to borrow equipment from former students, friends and/or relatives.

Dive skins such as Henderson Hot Skins® are made from either Lycra® or Polyolefin. Designed primarily as an outer garment, Dive Skins® help protect you from sun, abrasion and stings. We strongly recommend, but do not require, you look into buying one of these suits.

Online Course: January 24, 2018 – May 29, 2018

3 Day Training & Trip Preparation: June

Trip to Cuba: July 6-19, 2018

Research & Reflections: August

Scholarships – 
The Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative will award a limited number of need-based scholarships for the Marine Biology Cuba trip. If you receive a scholarship, the amount awarded will be reflected on the final payments. Students must maintain a minimum of 85% average and must provide evidence of financial need. To be considered for a scholarship, please download and complete the Marine Biology Program Scholarship. Application and student essay must be submitted to VTVLC by February 15, 2018 in order to be considered. Please see below for submission addresses.

Total Trip Fees: TBD (includes airfare, lodging, food, research boats & scientific and safety equipment.)
Total Course Fee*: $600 (1 credit Partner School Students) OR $750 (1 credit VT Non-Partner School Students. There are cases where the school will cover the cost of the course fee. Please contact the school counseling office to inquire and for confirmation. If the school is going to cover the course fee, please notify Nancy Goodrich at VTVLC as soon as possible.

Payment Schedule –
$500 deposit due with registration (prior to 1/24/18)
1/24/18 – Course Fee*
February – 1/3 of trip fee
March – 1/3 of trip fee
April – 1/3 of trip fee

Payment Options –
Checks should be made payable to: VTVLC c/o RVTC, 307 South Street, Springfield, VT 05156

Credit card payments can be processed through the student account in VTVLC’s student information system or by calling 802-885-8331. We accept Visa, Mastercard or Discover.

VTVLC Contact Information for submission of scholarships, payment and forms –
Mailing Address: VTVLC c/o RVTC, 307 South Street, Springfield, VT 05156
Scan & Email: (please write CUBA in the subject line)
Fax: 802-885-8454 (please include a cover sheet and send attention to Nancy Goodrich)


Because of the nature of this course, registration is a little more complex than VTVLC’s traditional enrollment courses. In order to make this an easy process, we’ve outlined the steps below. You must complete all steps.

1.) Complete the Marine Biology Registration Form. This form will need to be completed with a signature and returned to Brian Slopey or VTVLC no later than January 24th. You can scan and email the completed form to either or To fax, please include a cover sheet and send to 802-885-8454.

2.) Register online. Login to VTVLC’s student information system, Maestro. If the student does not have a user account with VTVLC, they must first Create an Account in Maestro. If the student has an account, simply follow the instructions for Requesting a Course. (The course name to search for is “Marine Biology / Trip to Cuba”.)

3.) Once the student has requested the course in VTVLC’s student information system, the request will be sent to the school counselor for approval.

4.) A deposit of $500 will be due with registration (no later than January 24, 2018) in order to reserve a spot for the trip. Please refer to the ‘Scholarship & Fees’ tab for details.

Download Flyer

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Marine Biology Blog

Marine Biology instructor, Mr. Slopey, along with his students, blog daily during the trip.  Check out the daily activities on the trip by visiting the Marine Biology Blog from 2017.

Marine Biology

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U32 Chronicle: ‘Trip “changes lives”'

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