Florida Sea Grant Extension in Collier County

Welcome to the Collier County Sea Grant Extension Blog

This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my extension outreach efforts and useful information to make you a more informed coastal citizen. If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to contact me at fluech@ufl.edu.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Afterschool Marine Science Progam: Field Trip to Tigertail Beach

Yesterday was the first of two field trips I'm doing for my  afterschool marine science program with migrant students. We explored the lagoon at Tigertail Beach on Marco Island, which is always a hit with any group I've taken there. This time was no exception. Their level of enthusiasm and excitement among these students was amazing! Granted they were hesitant to get wet at first (especially in the lagoon where the water tends to be murky), but towards the end, it was hard to get them out of the water. Since we've been learning about estuaries, I thought a visit to Tigertail would be a great chance for them to see first hand what we've been discussing. The tide was low, and the fiddler crabs were out on the exposed mudflats by the thousands. The students had an absolute field day following them around! Next, we did a little seining, which is always one of my favorite activities. This was a first for most of the students. I had the kids try to identify what they caught in the net using some make-shift field guides I created. They did an excellent job. Their catch included bay anchovies, silversides, pinfish, mojarras, spot, pipefish, spider crab, shrimp, comb jellies, and a code goby. Our original plan was to also seine along the beach so we could compare and contrast diversity between the different communities, but the kids seemed so interested in the lagoon, we stayed in there and did some exploring. They found several horseshoe crabs, crown conchs, and lightning whelks in addition to a blue crab, and plenty of worm egg cases. Although we didn't have a lot of time, we did finally make it to the beach so the kids could say they had officially stepped foot in the Gulf of Mexico!! Enjoy the pictures.

A little pre-seining instruction so everyone knows what to do

Hauling in the day's first catch. It was VERY hazy outside!

A closer view of a fiddler crab

Can you name that fish?

close-up examination of a comb jelly

Trying to ID fish

Checking out the seagrass

There were no shortages of fiddler crabs at the lagoon

One of many small horseshoe crabs found

A view of Tigertail Lagoon from the beach

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