May 27, 2016
Thanks to a grant awarded to the Carteret School District from Field Trip New Jersey, the Wellspring Center for Prevention was able to bring 25 middle school students to the Clean Ocean Action Student Summit in Sandy Hook on May 19th. The Student Summit was created to expand learning beyond the classroom, providing hands on marine education and experience. The workshops were designed to be enjoyable while incorporating New Jersey Core Curriculum Science, Math, and Social Studies standards.
The middle school students experienced workshops led by MAST (Marine Academy of Science and Technology) students, a marine high school located on Sandy Hook. These hands-on workshops were focused on marine life and ecology lessons on pollution, habitats and conservation. In addition, each student went on a mini field trip. These “trips” included casting a line in the ocean, a trip to the marine lab, searching for sea life in the bay, bird watching and a nature walk through the wooded paths. Students also learned about the fields related to marine science and received a real life look into the careers available to those interested in the environment and the sciences.
The students were particularly fascinated with one of New Jersey’s unique and ancient marine animals, the horseshoe crab (Limulus) who was the star of the summit. Students learned about the “life history of this species that pre-dates the dinosaurs, the myths about this animal, its role in the ecosystem, the biomedical and economic importance to humans, and how humans have impacted the species”. Students were also shown how to properly handle the horseshoe crab and were able to get a closer look at this valuable species. One of the 7th grade students said, “It’s crazy that [the horseshoe crab] was born 350 million years ago! I wish I could learn it all again!” Another student said that his favorite part of the Summit was “holding the horseshoe crab and being able to put (his) feet in the water.”
The Student Summit delivered a glimpse of the ocean, helping students to understand the connection between our ecosystem and the importance of respecting the environment.
The visit to the Clean Ocean Action Student Summit was made possible with a grant from Field Trip New Jersey, an endowment launched by the Community Foundation of New Jersey and Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to take students into new places that have the power to awaken, hush, awe, enrich, or otherwise positively change their lives.
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