For part one of our study on the Everglades we went on a field trip just outside of Everglades National Park with 3 naturalists, one of whom is also a U of F Sea Grant Extension Agent. What an amazing learning opportunity this was for our little co-op of 4 adults and 6 children ages 3-9 years old.
During our half day tour with Everglades Area Tours we took a boat through part of Ten Thousand Islands and then set up camp on one of the islands. From there the children explored the beach and estuaries and even had an opportunity to use a seine net. Once the seine net was brought out it was hard to tell who enjoyed it the most—-the children or the adults. At any rate, it’s safe to say a good time was had by all. We saw some amazing creatures which always reminds me of the incredible Creator we have.
We will include some of the photos below in our Science Notebooks, after we receive a little follow up help from our guide Bryan, in properly labeling and classifying them. The children will then choose one or two of the things we saw today to do additional research on. I am going to take a wild guess and say the Batfish is going to make the short list. For me, a close runner up would be the flat fish. That creature lays on the bottom of the sand with both eyes on one side of its head! It is truly a remarkable looking creature.
During our trip we also had an opportunity to see and touch Sea Pork!
Sea pork got its name because after death, the rubbery tunic bleaches to white, resembling salt pork or fatback.
Another wonderful find was the Horse Conch, Florida’s state shell. After a few false starts with Lightening Welks (left footed) we finally found a couple. It saved us a trip to the local shell store where I most likely would have been talked into purchasing one by the kids.
In addition to the 157 photos taken on our visit, we brought a few treasures home (molt of horseshoe crab, tulip shell, and worm rock). None of them were living, of course.
We are trying to be Young Florida Naturalists after all.