provided to The Santiva Chronicle
Sanibel Sea School hosted 15 students from Moore Haven Middle-High School in Glades County April 14 for the third time this year. Because they are almost two hours from the coast, most of the students had rarely been to the beach, if at all, before their trips with Sanibel Sea School.
In January, students learned about mollusks. Marine science educators conducted a squid dissection and then headed to the beach for a field portion to find bivalves and gastropods. In February, a low tide provided the perfect opportunity to learn about the soft intertidal zone at Bunche Beach Preserve. Marine science educators explored tide pools with students to find crabs, snails, worms, and more. Next, they headed into the mangrove forest to take a mud walk.
The topic of the April trip was fish. Students met Sanibel Sea School educators on the causeway to use seine nets and dip nets in the estuary. After a lesson on fish anatomy, they caught mojarras, seahorses, and pipe fish. “They were so excited about the seahorse. One student mentioned that they had never seen one before and was surprised at how small it was,” said Marine Science Educator Joey Garofano.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the day, even though it wasn’t a fish, was when a sooty (or mottled) sea hare swam by “The best part about experiential education is that we let nature be our guide. The sea hare fascinated the students, so we quickly changed gears and used it as a teaching moment,” Garofano said. “There is never a dull moment when you’re out exploring!”
Moore Haven Middle-High School students will join Sanibel Sea School for their final field trip of the year in May. These field trips are part of Sanibel Sea School’s ongoing outreach effort to provide students with coastal experiences and hands-on marine education. Sanibel Sea School is dedicated to making sure that all children have the chance to experience their programs regardless of geography or financial means.
To support these efforts, visit Support Sanibel Sea School Outreach or call 239-472-8585.