The past 12 days have been a whirlwind for a group of 15 students from Carlsbad, Northern San Diego, California. The first week of the program, the students embarked in discovering all the different research areas that CEI is currently involved in. These are just a few of the plethora of activities that we delved into: snorkelling the cage, cutting glass with Sam for the new resource building, jumping off high rock, playing in the pink sand on Harbour Island, observing echinoderms and their tubed feet frenzy over on the sand bar, night wading around the boathouse, followed by many more. On day one we were out with the flats team seining in some adverse conditions. The rain held us indoors for a couple days, where the student’s day varied from discussing sustainability to dissecting a sponge and learning all about the critters that inhabit the watery pores of a lovely smelling stinker sponge!
After getting a taste for all the varying research that goes on in and around the Cape, we embarked on a field day. Starting off on Sunrise beach to conduct a conch survey, the students found 25 live conch, and getting a first-hand look at the amount of discarded shells really made their exclamations when finding a live Conch quite loud! Then we visited Green Castle beach to conduct a plastics survey along the shoreline. The amount of both micro and macro plastics that were found really gave the students a direct vision of the extent of plastic’s impact on our oceans.
The program finished off with a trip down island, camping on Preacher’s Cave beach, having a lot of campfire fun. The Hatchet Bay caves were explored and an enormous Channel Clinging Crab was found while snorkeling in the seahorse pond.
All in all the students went away with a reaffirmed idea of what it means to live a sustainable life, and had a great time learning about the ecology of the area. We wish all the seniors luck as they embark on college careers this coming fall!