Our Budding Marine Biologists spend a week at camp learning about the variety of interesting organisms that live on Chincoteague, Assateague, and Wallops Islands. Signs of life and life itself are found everywhere, and with your eyes open, there is so much to see in these barrier island environments!
On Tuesday, a team of educators and camp counselors took a short bus ride with the campers to the Bateman Center, where they went on a scavenger hunt, learning fun facts about the Wildlife Refuge. Campers watched a video about the wild ponies of Assateague Island and other animals that inhabit the area before hiking the Assateague Lighthouse Trail to see some of these animals for themselves.
On their walk over, campers were tasked with identifying 50 signs of life. This "bio blitz" challenged the students to look closely for anything that indicated that an animal was in the area or had been: spider webs, footprints, even a mosquito buzzing by. Sometimes, this meant simply closing your eyes and listening for the chirp of a bird or a clicking of a bug.
Lunch was a quick sandwich by the beach, but then it was back on the bus to explore the intertidal zone! High tide meant campers were up to their shoulders in water from the bay, but that didn’t stop them from catching a variety of fish to bring back to the lab to study. The young biologists lined up on one side of the creek and paraded toward shore, encouraging dozens of fish to swim into the nets waiting for them at the end. After a few rounds of sampling, the campers enjoyed swimming and frolicking around in the high tide.
After a long swim and time to change into dry clothes, it was back to the Field Station for much-needed showers. No one ever said marine science and hands-on education was a clean experience, but it sure is fun!
Everything you need to know about CBFS's educational programs, visiting Chincoteague Island, and more!