"To protect and restore the Florida coastal and Indian River Lagoon ecosystems
through education, research and community stewardship."

Pine Trail Elementary Loves the Lagoon

Mar 24th, 2014 | Category: Blogs, MDC News, Oyster Restoration News, Shoreline Restoration News


A class of 5th graders at Pine Trail Elementary has shown a lot of love for the Lagoon this year. The students travel monthly to Tomoka State Park to test the water quality, measuring salinity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, and more. During the water tests, the young explorers also conduct a survey of species that are feeding or living at their site.


The students spent a day at the Marine Discovery Center to test the water quality at a new site and compare it to the location they have been monitoring over the school year. Armed with clipboards and a survey guide, groups of students checked out the conditions at two sites on the MDC property, and collected water samples. Back in the lab, the budding scientists determined the temperature, phosphate levels, oxygen availability, and other parameters of each sample. The students compared the test results at the MDC sites to their regular site, and brainstormed ideas about why some test results were different. They were able to see first-hand how natural and human-induced events can influence the conditions of an estuary.


While at MDC, the class also participated in the Shuck and Share oyster recycling project. After learning about the importance of oysters in the IRL, all 14 students quickly picked up the technique for building mats and assembled 20 new oyster mats. Back at the oyster storage area, we checked out the piles being ‘quarantined’ and found lots of interesting critters who make their homes on oyster shells. Students spotted barnacles, worms, algae, bryozoans, oyster spat, and more just in one fresh pile of shells. It was easy to see the importance of these bivalves to dozens of different species.

A huge thanks to Mr. Waterman and the dedicated parents who provide regular hands-on, feet-wet experiences for these students. Curiosity was alive and well in these students during their day at MDC. We love being part of the learning process and creating positive memories for young stewards!