Third graders from Ocean Studies Charter School presented their project research for the NOAA Ocean Guardian School program, the Seagrass Restoration Experiment, throughout the Keys on May 17.
The Ocean Guardian School program is coordinated by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and supported by National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. Students started their journey at Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park, stopped at Long Key State Park, Curry Hammock State Park, Bahia Honda State Park, and Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park.
At each park, a different student group presented their seagrass research to park staff and visitors. Following the presentation, students were given a tour, demonstration, or time to explore each park. The final experience of the day was at the Florida Keys Eco Discovery Center in Key West, where scientists and managers from NOAA Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Mote Marine Lab Center for Tropical Research viewed the final student presentation.
The student group celebrated with a dinner in Key West before heading home to Tavernier. Martha Loizeaux, the marine science teacher at Ocean Studies Charter School, said she was very impressed and proud of the third graders’ hard work and confidence in this endeavor to share their findings regarding the health of seagrass habitats in the Florida Keys.
The Ocean Guardian School program awards small grants to K-12 schools to carry out hands-on stewardship projects that help to protect the health of local watersheds, our global ocean and special ocean areas such as national marine sanctuaries. To read more about NOAA’s Ocean Guardian School program, please visit sanctuaries.noaa.gov/education/ocean_guardian.