When it comes to teaching children about ecology, there is no better tutor than mother ocean herself. This is why the Sebastian Inlet chapter of Surfrider was happy to partner with Ms. Weiss’ summer marine ecology program to offer her elementary-aged students some hands-on experience with the beach.
Our elementary education began with a scavenger hunt, eager to see who we might find on the beach that day.
In addition to the usual surfers and fishermen, we saw Pelicans, Sand Pipers, and even a Great Blue Heron. We also found this guy out for a stroll…
Some of the more entrepreneurial students ran off in search of buried Spanish treasure…
Hey, don’t laugh- stranger things have happened!
Of course, the real treasure located at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge is our precious endangered sea turtles. Loggerheads and Green Turtles come from all over the Western Hemisphere to nest here, and our class was lucky enough to see a few of these nests and turtle tracks for themselves.
We explored all sorts of interesting creatures, both big and small.
We also discussed our critical dune habitats, and how native plants like Railroad Vine, Beach Sunflower and Sea Oats help to maintain and build a healthy dune. These Sea Oats were planted by our chapter only a few years ago, and already the new dune is thriving and full of life.
Of course, no trip to the beach is complete without a tasty snack.
We also took the time to discuss the sorts of things that do not belong on our beaches, like single-use plastics, which harm our nesting turtles and collect in massive ocean gyres.
It is our privilege to help pass along our love of the beach to the next generation of Floridians. It is our goal to reach as many young students as we possibly can via our elementary education initiative.
All in all, it was a lovely morning. The only downside was this: we never did find that treasure…
We understand the limited budgets of our teachers and school districts. That is why there is no fee associated with these field trips. You supply the kids; we’re happy to provide everything else.