Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Field Trip: Science at Sea

Yesterday was one of our best field trips ever: a boat cruise with a team of marine biologists to study fish and other sea critters.  It was an amazing trip!

We boarded the Atlantic Star in Wildwood, New Jersey, to set off on our 3-hour tour with the biologists from the Wetlands Institute.

While on board, we learned about various sea creatures, like the horsehoe crab.  I'd never known that this crab had significance to humans; its blood is used to test intravenous drugs for bacteria.

We enjoyed a beautiful, sunny, calm day.  At one point there was a huge pod of dolphins - 50 or more - swimming around us.  None of my photos captured them well. It was better to stop trying to take pictures and just enjoy the scene. 

We also had the excitement of going under a drawbridge.  First time for me!  And for my kids.  In all we sailed in the Atlantic Ocean, Delaware Bay, and Cape May canal.

The main excitement, though, was deploying a trawl net, then hauling it back in to see the treasures inside.  All hands were needed to haul the net in.  Then the critters were put into various containers to be studied.  Afterward, they were returned to the sea.  

There were touch tanks and microscopes and lots of oohing and aahing. Certain words and phrases were banned:  "ewww," "gross," and "that's disgusting."

It was a fantastic day.  I am so thankful for homeschool moms who are able and willing to put trips like this together.  This is not something we could just go do on our own.  But, we could go visit The Westlands Institute sometime.  We didn't arrive early enough to visit yesterday but I think we'll be making a trip there pretty soon.  It's a 2-hour drive but we had good music to listen to and talk about in the car.  That's schooltime too. Yesterday it was "American Cultural Studies;" I introduced the kids to the Traveling Wilburys.

If you live near South Jersey, you should look into the Science at Sea program with your homeschool group.   


Sandy said...

Entirely and completely jealous! That looks great!

wayside wanderer said...

This looks like a great time! When we were in FL summer before last we went on a boat tour at a nature center that reminds me of this. If I were the bestower of prizes I would give you one for being the mom who goes on the best field trips!