Summer Coastal Ecology Course Day 2

Well we had a fantastic day! Our morning activity was definitely a hands on feet wet education. We went out onto the Chincoteague Bay in or should I say on a flat bottomed skiff boat. We learned how to capture organisms using an otter trowler we pulled the net back in we sorted throug the catch to determine which organisms to keep and which to throw back in.  We captured quite a variety of creatures including blue crabs, flounder, oyster toad fish, red algae, squid, hogchokers, and sea squirts just to name a few.  After the boat returned us to the dock we came back to campus for lunch and to get ready for our next adventure. After lunch we went to Wallops Island proper where we were  given access to a restricted beach. We went crabbing and shelling. Of course if you get kids that close to water of course they are going to get in so the kids had a blast wading in the surf. I found a great big horshoe crab exoskeleton that I am bringing home. I will use it in the marine biology course I am teaching at our homeschool co-op.

Unfortunately I am having some technical difficulties so I am unable to share pictures of today’s adventure. When we get home from this vacation (yep, I have decided it really is a vacation since I don’t have to cook or clean and someone else is providing all the entertainment ahem I mean educatial activitis for the kids) I will post a slideshoe so you can see for yourself what we did.

Oh I almost forgot, after dinner we went into the lab for some more hands on fun. We had to sort all the organisms captured today into the appropriate Phyla. Then we got to touch and examine all of the organisma as we learned more about their habitats, adaptations, and behaviors. I was shocked to see my son working so diligently taking notes (4 pages of notes!) and drawing pictures of his favorite organisms. For a very active boy who does not particularly love writing or drawing this was simply wonderful to see. All the hands on feet wet learning inspired him to work harder.

Tune in tomorrow to find out what happens on day 3 of our trip.