MAKAI FIELD STUDY: COASTAL ECOLOGY
Our Outdoor Classroom
Today, middle school students once again enjoyed a day in the best kind of classroom: nature! We spent the day at Sandy Beach Park in Hawai'i Kai, where students investigated the impacts of climate change in our local environment. This field study was the makai (coastal) component of our From Mauka to Makai: Understanding Climate Change Impacts in the Ahupua’a program, a partnership with the Hawai'i Nature Center. Today's outdoor science learning included a lesson on marine debris and an opportunity to help clean up the beach. Students also explored the tide pools, assessing environmental conditions and biodiversity. I think everyone's favorite part was searching for creatures in the intertidal zone.
Marine Debris and Garbology
Human debris, or garbage, from both land and sea collects in the ocean and ends up on our beaches. Unfortunately, about 90% of marine debris is plastic, which is not biodegradable. This plastic trash, ranging from micro to massive, has far reaching impacts and is very dangerous for birds, turtles, and marine mammals. We can all make a difference by using less and properly disposing or recycling unwanted items. Another great way to help out is by participating in local beach clean-ups. On our island, almost every weekend there is a beach clean-up where you can volunteer with your family.
Tide Pool Study
When I was a little girl on the New Hampshire coast, my favorite activity was to explore the tide pools, scrambling along the rocky intertidal zone from pool to pool. I would lift up big piles of seaweed and scan for scurrying crabs and clinging sea stars. I would wade in the deeper pools. And I would always remember what my father taught me: you can pick up a rock to look underneath but always put it back just as it was— something makes a home there. Tide pool exploration was an important training ground for a curiosity about the natural world and a career in science education. Thus, it is always a pleasure to share this particular outdoor classroom with students.
In October's mauka study, we talked about how conditions in the uplands affect the marine environment below. From the mountains to the sea, our watershed is interconnected and interdependent. Pollution and sediment are often carried by streams and channels to the estuaries and eventually the ocean. The estuary, where the fresh and salt water meet, is a critical nursery, as well as important habitat for organisms like the Hawaiian 'o'opu whose life cycle includes both stream and ocean environments.
Here at Sandy Beach Park, students conducted a field study similar to that of the stream study, this time in coastal tide pools. Students made predictions and then assessed tide pools in different intertidal zones: upper, middle, and lower. In each of the tide pools studied, student measured and recorded pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and other environmental data. Students also searched for creatures in the tide pools to quantify the biodiversity.
The more time we spend in nature, the more we appreciate its beauty, resources, and diverse array of living things. We have to make our home while allowing other creatures to keep their homes. If we come to love nature, we will fight to protect it. So get out there and explore your world!
2/11/2015 03:28:03 am
This was the best field trip ever!!!
2/11/2015 03:29:42 am
Mrs. Veresan, a trip great I hope I can learn more.
2/11/2015 03:31:21 am
thx you Ms.V for setting up a field trip at sandies i learned so much about climate change and about the low,medium and high areas with the most animals. Mahalo!!!!!
2/11/2015 03:39:40 am
Thanks allot Mrs. V for this field trip it was lots of fun. This helped me learn about marine debris and living animals. And I want to go more field trips just like this.
2/11/2015 04:11:07 am
It was a really good trip!
2/11/2015 04:12:50 am
Thank you so much Ms. V for putting together this field trip, I learned a lot more than I did about our island and how it's changing.
2/11/2015 04:18:45 am
This field trip was so much fun! One of my favorite parts was when we got to see the Spanish Dancer. I never knew that there was so much marine debris. I hope we can do this again next year!
2/11/2015 04:18:51 am
Thank you for bringing us on this trip Ms. V! I learned so much about climate change. I hope we can go again!
2/11/2015 04:18:57 am
That Field Trip was so awesome I loved it i learned so much more then i did before! I wish I could go again!
2/11/2015 04:20:16 am
This was really fun, but I liked the mountain trip a bit more, but that's just because of my personal bias with the beach in general, but still fun.......SPACE MAGIC!
2/11/2015 02:29:25 pm
who is this
2/11/2015 04:23:38 am
I had a great time on this field trip Ms. V! Not only had I learned new things concerning tide pools and sea life that occupies those pools, but I've also become more knowledgeable when it comes to waste and littering, plus how litter finds its way to young birds and baby animals. It was great Ms. V, thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate.
2/11/2015 04:28:42 am
I had a super fun time at this field trip! I liked racing the other grades to see who could get the most trash! Thank you Nature Center.
2/11/2015 05:52:52 am
It was an awesome field trip! It was cool how Spanish Dancer got bigger when I touched it. I'm looking forward to go visit them again!
2/11/2015 07:24:23 am
Going to the tide pools was really fun. I got to catch some animals. It was fun
2/11/2015 07:26:06 am
This was such a fun field trip! I learned a lot on this field trip.I hope we can do something with the Hawaii Nature Center again!
2/11/2015 07:33:11 am
I really liked this field trip and I thought it was really nice that we got to clean up the beach. I loved the tide pools and thought it was really cool.
2/11/2015 08:11:31 am
This field trip was so fun! It was amazing exploring the life that lives in those tiny tide pools. It was a sick experience!!!!!
2/11/2015 08:15:04 am
Mrs. V, Thank you this was one of my favorite educational field trips at Star of the Sea, I hope we can see the nature center people again
2/11/2015 08:27:34 am
Ms.v thank you for setting up the middle school field trip, I had a lot of fun learning about the beach and how human trash effects the ocean and the sea creatures
2/11/2015 08:29:39 am
That was a really cool field trip I hope we can do that again
2/11/2015 01:58:03 pm
the field trip was awesome and i liked that we got to learn about some native plants and animals. i hope we can learn more and thank you for taking us on the trip
2/11/2015 02:27:17 pm
Thanks ms v for this field trip and picking up the trash from our first group was fun. Also i enjoyed the tide pools catching sea critters (Spanish dancer, brittle star, and Kyler's sea cucumber that squirted water on a student).
M Dawg :D
2/11/2015 04:02:57 pm
V dawg! This field trip was super awesome and I really enjoyed it! It was a great experience to have and I learned so much about ocean acidification, the plants by the ocean, and how we can take care of the land. Thanks for taking us! :)
2/12/2015 09:15:18 am
Thank you for the great experience at the beach and teaching us about how to keep our world safe and clean.
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This blog contains occasional dispatches from my science classroom and professional learning experiences. Thank you for reading!