Looking back on the last five days, friendships have been made and team names have been assigned! The second week of Summer Connections has ended and it has been a ball. The students got to explore the intertidal zone this week — a very rich but hard ecosystem in which to survive. The intertidal zone is the area above water at low tide and under water at high tide. Organisms that live in this ecosystem have adapted to the harsh and extreme conditions of this environment.

During this week students also got some more hands-on practice doing what scientists do, and exploring, with more depth, what it means to be a scientist. On their walk down to the ecosystem, they engaged in a solo sensory walk through the forest, where they focused on listening to their surroundings. Some of the things the students heard were:

Once we arrived to the ecosystem, field journals were distributed. Students took about five minutes to locate themselves on a map. If you take a look on the map you will see yellow stars; those represent the students’ guesses of their location. The red and green arrows represent the start and end point of their walk down to the intertidal zone. The students also took some time to observe and write down observations about this ecosystem with the headings of: “I notice, I wonder, and it reminds me off.”

Students recording their observations

Yazmarie’s field observations

Last but most importantly, EXPLORATION TIME! The students headed down the beach in the search of biotic and abiotic factors. Their last task of the day as scientists exploring the intertidal zone was to make numerical observations by counting Asian Shore Crabs that were found. Asian shore crabs are Japanese invasive species that came to North America and have successfully reproduced and thrived.

Overall, it was an amazing week discovering the mysteries of the intertidal zone. Each week the students are learning more and more of what it really means to be a field scientist; taking detailed notes, making careful observations, using a map to locate themselves while collecting data about specific species. Next week, they will explore the forested woodlands and meadows, a very different ecosystem, with new opportunities to grow, learn and discover.