Twenty people met us at Southgate Coastal Reserve on Saturday for a Super Fun Family Field Day! Kids and their parents learned all about the job of a sea turtle researcher from Jenn Travis, Friends of the East End Marine Park. The group looked for sea turtle tracks and then discovered a nesting female (Jenn staged this with a borrowed carapace from Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge). Next, the participants recorded her measurements and learned about triangulation measurement by stretching the meter tape to beach stakes. After recording data, the kids learned about nest excavations by digging up a staged nest (filled with ping pong balls and hatchling replicas).
In the wetland area, SEA staffer Carol Cramer-Burke had families create a square meter quadrant using string, stakes, and a meter stick. Families then looked for various plant and insect samples within their quadrant. Most were surprised to learn one of their samples was edible!
About half of the group also learned about the various animals that live in the St. Croix East End Marine Park waters by Southgate by doing a beach scavenger hunt, led by SEA education coordinator Lynnea Roberts. We found several species of sea sponges, sea fans, brain coral, finger coral, clam shells, whelks, conch, turtle grass, manatee grass, bird feathers, love bugs, hermit crabs, ghost crabs, beach glass and more. Many of the kids expressed concern about the trash on the beach and picked it up without hesitation. We left ‘Paradise in its Place,’ taking only our memories, trash, and a few pieces of beach glass.
Big thanks to Friends of the St. Croix East End Marine Park, Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, and the families that came out for an adventurous Saturday morning! This event was coordinated by the St. Croix Environmental Association, and we will definitely be doing more of these in the upcoming year!