A Marine Bio Thanksgiving


Dr. Ed Dickson and students setting up the food truck on TERRA's campus.

Desiree Pico, Section Editor

On Nov. 21 and 22, 2016, something out of the ordinary was seen near the lunch area that caused a lot of excited chatter: a food truck. While the speculation that TERRA had added this to the lunch menu was not true, the real reason why it was there was just as interesting; Dr. Ed Dickson and his Marine Biology classes were cooking up a delicious Thanksgiving meal from the sea, all while learning about the fish they were eating.

Dickson decided to take this traditional celebration and make it more interesting for his students. Sporting a pig with a chef hat and some flames on its sides, his food truck — called “Dickson Smokehouse” —  stood just outside of the lunch area by the picnic tables. Students brought in an array of fish, including salmon, mahi mahi, flounder, and tilapia to hold in the truck.

“I brought the food truck because it had all of the supplies necessary to cook the fish the way I wanted for this event,” says Dickson, “including a refrigerator to hold all of the fish when they brought it in the morning.” After unpacking some of his kitchen utilities, he prepared the fish in a variety of ways to demonstrate to his students some ways to cook fish.

For some of his students, this event allowed them to experience many firsts. Senior Ashley Garcia, a student in his second period Marine Biology class, says, “Most of the fish we made I had never tried before, like the mahi mahi, flounder, and salmon, which was my favorite part of this whole thing.” Garcia commends Dickson for creating this event for them, saying, “I feel like it was very kind of him to do this because he brought out his own equipment when he didn’t have to, and he fried it for us. All we had to do was bring the fish, so it was pretty cool of him to do this for our class.” She, along with other students, saw this event as an interesting, new way to incorporate learning into a fun activity, calling it “a new experience”for the school.

“My favorite part was definitely being able to help Dickson with the cooking and clean up. I stood next to him, and he explained every step to me. It was actually a lot of fun to be there next to him when he was cooking because you not only got to learn how to cook different fish, but you also got to have a really nice experience in school,” said senior Stephany Fuentes, one of the many hands-on students involved in preparing the food. Although this event could be considered an “unorthodox” way to celebrate Thanksgiving, Fuentes says that this actually “made it more fun.”

Dickson, along with his students, found this event to be a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving. “I think that this event was really, really successful because there were many a time that we had over five different fish to cook, the kids were able to get outside, and they also got to learn a little bit about the different fish we were cooking, so yes, I would say that this was a successful event overall.”

Dickson’s investment of effort did not go unnoticed or unappreciated by anyone. I’m so happy he did this. It was such a joy, and I thought it was really thoughtful of him to do this because it’s a lot of work to bring his whole truck and cook for us the whole day,”said Fuentes. ”If we get to bring food, I’m so ready to help him again,” Fuentes says, “because it was really a great time.”