On Thursday, our campers went to Wallops Island to learn more about dune ecology. As a barrier island, Wallops acts as a border between the mainland and the ocean, catching marine life and ocean materials from the deep sea. Assateague and Chincoteague are also barrier islands. Educator Maria taught the campers that dunes are important because, like the islands, dunes are barrier systems.
After boarding the bus, Chaz talked about the different aspects of Wallops that we would soon see on the beach. CBFS has access to the side of Wallops Island owned by the Navy/NASA, and is able to take participants on site to see a relatively pristine coastal ecosystem. Typically, Wallops Island is open only to government employees.
Back at the lab, the campers identified different micro and macro organisms and learned more about what they saw today. They rotated through different stations and used field guides to confirm the names of a variety of plants and animals, learning fun facts along the way.
Wallops Island is just one trip on a six day adventure. The campers take a trip each day to explore barrier islands on Virginia's Eastern Shore, learning about the islands’ history and coastal ecology.
Spencer and his grandfather loved walking around the island and seeing the dunes. “Science is fun, I liked collecting all the shells. I like being here without my brothers and sisters so I can spend some time with just my grandpa," Spencer said.
You can read more about our grandparent/grandchild trips here, and more about our other family programs here!