N.H. Sea Grant
Students Get Their Hands Wet on UNH's Coastal Floating Lab
By Kathleen Schmitt
N.H. Sea Grant
April 25, 2002
DURHAM, N.H. -- Area middle school and high school students will get their hands wet this spring learning about marine and estuarine environments. They will participate in the 24th year of the Coastal Floating Lab, a marine education program sponsored by New Hampshire Sea Grant and the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.
Time slots are still open and interested teachers should contact Sharon Meeker or Barbara Pinto-Maurer at 603-749-1565. The program is New Hampshire educational frameworks-based and includes an accompanying curriculum for participating teachers.
Students and teachers will experience a half-day adventure aboard the Lady Merrilee Ann, a 70-foot boat from Eastman's Fishing Fleet operating out of Seabrook. They will be accompanied by upper-level UNH students and several marine docents, a group of trained volunteers dedicated to the preservation and wise use of marine resources.
The boat is outfitted with simple oceanographic sampling equipment. While onboard, students will conduct research including water sampling and testing for dissolved oxygen, temperature, acidity and salinity. They will obtain and identify plankton, sample benthic communities, and use a sechi disk to test water clarity. They will also record the speed and direction of currents, catch fish and invertebrates and learn basic coastal navigation techniques.
Students and their teachers will average their collected data back in the classroom and report their results to N.H. Sea Grant. This data will be compiled and become a part of the Coastal Floating Lab's database.
"New Hampshire's coast, its marshes, estuaries, beaches, rocky shoreline and open ocean is an important resource to the state. However, population growth, increasing demands on local resources, and probable impacts of offshore oil development place the future of the coast in jeopardy." says Sharon Meeker, UNH marine extension specialist. "Crucial decisions will be made in the next few decades by the students who are in school today. The goal of the Coastal Floating Lab is to increase students' knowledge and appreciation of coastal resources to help ensure that those decisions will be enlightened ones."
New Hampshire Sea Grant is a statewide program based at UNH that supports university research and outreach dedicated to the stewardship and sustainable use of the coastal environment. It is one of 31 such state-federal partnerships that make up the NOAA National Sea Grant College Program.
Coastal Floating Lab Participants and Dates:
Hood Middle School -- 8th grade