The Sanibel Sea School recently hosted a group of students ages 5-8 from the Joseph H. Messina Children’s Center in Southwest Florida for a field trip to the Bunche Beach Preserve in Fort Myers.
Marine science educator Kim Bouwkamp led the group on a beach walk, seining the seagrass and using landing nets to find crabs.
“We caught a lot of small fish, comb jellies, snails and hermit crabs” she said. âThe students were very excited to hold the swaying silverfish – their laughter was infectious. “
To end the excursion, Bouwkamp surprised the students by taking a surfboard out of the van. During the last hour, the students learned to paddle, turn the board and stand up.
The trips are part of Sanibel Sea School’s outreach effort to provide opportunities for students who would not otherwise experience the ocean. There are thousands of children in southwest Florida who, despite living a few miles from the coast, rarely have the opportunity to interact with it in any meaningful way, officials have reported.
“Most of the students on the trip had never been to Bunche Beach or Sanibel before” she said. “The best part of the trip for me was the drive because their excitement was at an all time high.”
“I hope the students have taken a new interest in exploring nature and asking questions”, Bouwkamp added. âIt was so wonderful spending the day together at the beach.â
Field trips also help reinforce concepts learned during monthly classroom visits to the Joseph H. Messina Children’s Center in Fort Myers. Students will join the Sanibel Sea School on three more trips this school year.
To support the program, visit https://www.sanibelseaschool.org/ocean-outreach and click “Support the cause” or contact [email protected]
Part of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation family, the mission of the Sanibel Sea School is to improve the future of the ocean, one person at a time.