Posted by: lauraearly | April 24, 2011

Earth Week 2011

Wow, what a week at Sanibel Sea School! Between our two campuses, over 100 different kids experienced the ocean with us this past week, many of them coming back for multiple classes.

One of the most rewarding things to hear from parents is that their kids were so excited about what they learned on their first day at Sanibel Sea School that they want to come back as many days as they can.

This Earth Week, we explored everything from the mangroves to seagrass beds to the sparkling waters of the Gulf. Each day, it seemed, we were presented with something more amazing than the last. I wish I could share with you all the great moments we had this week. Instead, here are some highlights:

Playing like shorebirds in the waves.

On Tuesday, we watched plovers dart in and out of the waves as they pecked around in the sand for food. Once we tried it for ourselves, we realized just how swift those little shorebirds are.

Tulip snail extending its foot.

Wednesday, we got a great look at a gastropod, the tulip snail. Snails can retreat inside their shells, tightly sealing their body inside with the operculum, but this tulip was not shy at all. It was whipping its “foot” around to scare us away, providing a great opportunity to see that shells are made from live animals.

Sea urchin covered in shells.

Almost everywhere we stepped on Thursday were urchins under our feet. At first they were hard to spot because they cover themselves in shells, but once we knew what to look for, they were everywhere!

Seine fishing.

While using the seine net on Friday, we caught a needlefish, a baby pufferfish, some lizard fish, and thousands of tiny larval fish.

Juvenile horseshoe crab.

Finishing up the week on Saturday with a kayak expedition to a seagrass bed, we discovered the array of creatures between the blades including horseshoe crabs, small fish, conchs, whelks, and hermit crabs.

A Native American proverb reminds us that “we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, but we borrow it from our children.” Children’s eyes lit up this week as they took a peek into that blue ocean that covers more than 70 percent of our planet. The look on a child’s face as they watch in amazement as a tiny clam buries itself almost instantly in the sand or as they squeal with delight when a manatee comes up for a breath right next to the dock says it all. This is their planet, and they should be able to discover it in as pure a form as we can give it to them for countless generations into the future.

Success!

To see more of our adventures from this week, check out our April 2011 at Sx3 Captiva album.

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