On Tuesday, educator Kirstie started the afternoon with a lecture about intertidal zone, also called the littoral zone. The students reviewed information about spring tides and neap tides relative to the position of the sun and the moon. Specifically for this region, Assateague Island has semidiurnal tides, two high and two low tides around the same size every lunar day.
After a quick ride in the van over to Tom’s Cove on Assateague Island, the students and their instructors took a quick walk (through trees, grass, and several hundred mosquitos) out to look at the different sub-zones of Tom’s Cove.
Kirstie lead the students in activities to discover what types of marine life live in these intertidal zones and what they could see when they sifted through the sand. Students collected fish by holding up large nets and chasing the fish down toward them, running, splashing, and making as much noise as possible.
After they came back to the cool air inside the Field Station, students had a chance to shower, eat dinner, and then head off to the lab to discuss what they saw in the and to identify the organisms. They examined the fish they caught and talked about how they flourished in the environment.
Dallastown teacher Dave Gable has been taking his classes to CBFS for 27 years to visit Chincoteague and learn about coastal ecology hands-on.
“It’s just a really neat experience to take things you learn in the classroom and bring it right out into nature and apply things,” Gable said. “We don’t really live near an ocean so it’s great to come here and see some different ecosystems.”
The students enjoyed many things about the trip, despite the mosquito bites and heat. They spent three days total at the Field Station and also learned about barrier island formation at NASA’s Wallops Island and water quality on our research vessels.
“I loved trawling for the animals, we saw a lot of different marine life,” Garrison, a Dallastown student, said.
Learn more about CBFS school programs here.