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It's a great day for a beach walk! Today, like many days in the Spring and Summer, Nature Vision programs take school children to local Puget Sound beaches such as Seahurst Beach and Richmond Saltwater Park to learn about the plants and animals that are uniquely suited for the intertidal ecosystem.
We begin with a talk about beach etiquette so, that the kids don't squish creatures by turning over rocks or, leave delicate sea life baking in the sun when they should be left in the tide pools. Instead of giving in to the temptation to bring something home, those cell phone cameras are a convenient way to "collect" our memories of a day on the beach! Our handy magnifying lens offers an up-close look at the macroscopic bryozoans, encrusting sponges, barnacles and jingle shells growing on the intertidal rocks. Water-proof beach guide sheets allow our teachers & parents to identify many of the intertidal creatures along with their students.
Today, shouts of excitement rang out as our 4th graders identified small, one inch sand soles swimming in the tide pool among the sea lettuce at Richmond Saltwater Park. Of course, the most popular beach characters for these students are the crabs. There are a variety of crab species on our beaches including the purple shore, kelp, hermit and red rock variety of crabs, each having their own personality. Watch out for those claws! They know how to defend themselves against predators and 4th graders!
One of our students, who had never visited a beach, announced that he was going to come back every weekend to explore!
Another student declared that she was going to help the ocean when she grows up! Parents love these trips because they learn a lot about the beach life and it gets their children excited about science! So goes another great day at the beach with Nature Vision!