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Florida Keys - 7th Grade Biology Experience

Our 7th graders left on Thursday March 3rd for their Academic Field Trip in the Florida Keys. This trip, which is part of their Life Science curriculum, is led by Pigeon Key docents who introduce them to Marine Biology.

Day 1: After a very early start on March 3rd, the students and four chaperones, led by Mrs. Reid and Mr. Shelton, arrived at Pigeon Key just after lunch. The students begin with a swimming test and snorkeling lesson.

“While some people had some trouble figuring it out at first, all of the 7th Graders eventually got the hang of it and swam around the dock to practice after passing the snorkeling test. When we were practicing, we saw fish, conches, and someone even saw a stingray. After snorkeling, we changed into dry clothes and gathered in the white tent again for an educational lesson on the habitats of the Florida Keys. We learned about Mangroves, Shallow Hard Bottoms, Seagrass, and Coral Reefs. Then we had another 10 minutes to explore, before dinner…. after dessert, we had another lesson on identifying reef fishes."

Their first evening ended with a devotional led by Mr. Campos, a game of ‘Manhunt” and exploration of the island.

Day 2: After a full breakfast of French toast sticks, oatmeal, cereal, sausages, and fruit the team boarded a boat called ‘Emerald See’, which took them out to a lighthouse a little less than half an hour away from Pigeon Key.

“There, we went snorkeling in the coral reefs and saw many fishes such as the Rainbow Parrotfish, Yellowtail Snapper, Barracuda, etc. Some people had a little trouble snorkeling out in the ocean at first, due to the strong currents, but in the end, we all had fun, enjoying the snorkeling. After lunch, we had a lesson on invertebrates, then split up into 3 groups and went tide pooling around the island (looking for invertebrate creatures under rocks). We gathered all the invertebrates we found and examined them together. There were horse conch, queen conch, sea urchins, and so on. We had a little free time until Shark Biology class, where we learned about different kinds of sharks and also got to examine the guts of a dissected bonnethead shark. After that, we headed to the saltwater pool and fed Sharkira, the female nurse shark in the pool. “

After an Italian dinner, a history lesson about Pigeon Key and devotions, the team played board games and UNO until bed. The team returns Saturday evening, March 5th.

Many thanks to our Pigeon Key travel blogger Joyce Chan!

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