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Into the Mangroves to a Lagoon Far Far Away….

Updated: May 20, 2022

FernLeaf believes in hands-on, experiential learning as a key way to foster curiosity and deep learning in our students. We believe in this SO strongly that our teachers coordinate multiple different optional travel opportunities, domestic and overseas, throughout the year for our students. From May 16th - May 20th, 2022 two of our teachers and a small group of students are at MarineLab, a Marine Science education center in Key Largo, Florida. These blog posts are written by the students and will document their adventures and learning!

Read about day 3 below. Click here for days one, two, and four.

To start day three we had a delicious breakfast of French toast and sausage. Afterwards, we headed to the water at MarineLab to meet our kayak guide Brittney. Then we were off into Largo sound and into the mangroves. After a few minutes we got the hang of kayaking and tested our skills as we followed “tunnels” through the mangroves. We kayaked the morning away.

Our next destination for the day was John Pennekamp State Park which was just a short drive away from MareinLab. When we arrived at the park we sat down and enjoyed some ham and turkey sandwiches, and some refreshing juice. We made a toast with our juice about how much we've learned and how much we love the Keys. After we ate, we headed to the visitor center and checked out a mini aquarium. We used our fish identification skills that we learned yesterday in class and spotted different types of coral reef fish. After we spotted the fish we headed to Cannon Beach at the state park and used our snorkeling gear to check out the shipwreck. While at the shipwreck we saw a ton of amazing fish. One of the fish we saw swimming in and out of view was a huge school of tarpon. Fun fact about tarpons is that they can grow up to 8 feet long.

Once we returned back to Marine Lab we had an hour until dinner to organize ourselves and start writing this blog. After we wrote some of the blog it was time for a dinner of meatloaf, corn, mashed potatoes, and a delicious dessert of pudding. After we had that amazing dinner we had about 30 minutes to play volleyball. There is a court in the main building that students can use with other groups while you are there. Then we met in the blue lab for a science lab about microplastics. During the lab we learned about how important it is to be aware of what you are using in your everyday life, because even the most tiny amounts of plastic can end up in our natural environment.

After the lab we had to rush and get ready for our norkeling trip (norkling is night snorkeling) At the pavilion we met our instructor and got our snorkeling gear ready. Since it was night time, the staff attached a glow stick to each of our snorkels. We jumped in the water and saw bioluminescence. We also saw two seahorses, two lobsters, and many sleeping fish. By the time we got out we were ready for a nice warm shower and dry clothes. And that concludes another incredible day at Marine Lab!

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