Marine & Environmental Science Programs (one-day enrichment)
The SoundWaters Marine & Environmental Science program will engage all high school students in inquiry-based investigations. Through this concentrated experience the students will further cultivate their understanding of biology as they explore and experiment the following topics: ecology, biochemistry, animal form and function and water quality. Students will become stewards of the Long Island Sound watershed system through hands-on analysis and assessment of water quality in the Long Island Sound. The SoundWaters Marine & Environmental Science program is a cycle of learning for students that builds upon classroom content, enhances critical thinking skills and offers hands-on, STEM experiential learning opportunities.
Schooner Sails –Advanced Science Programs
The SoundWaters Advanced Science Schooner Program will engage students in inquiry-based investigations. Through this concentrated experience the students will further cultivate their understanding of biology as they explore and experiment the following topics: ecology, biochemistry, animal form and function and water quality. Students will become stewards of the Long Island Sound watershed system through hands-on analysis and assessment of water quality in the Long Island Sound. The SoundWaters Advanced Science program is a cycle of learning for students that builds upon classroom content, enhances critical thinking skills and offers hands-on, STEM experiential learning opportunities.
Students will be tasked with studying Long Island Sound as real field scientists and learn why the career of marine science is so critical to the continued improving health of the Sound. They will get involved in the actual work that goes into protecting this area and collect data, get hands-on experience, and make observations in order to learn the many factors that affect the Sound. As their understanding of Long Island Sound deepens, so too will their connection to one of our most valuable natural resources.
Water sampling- How can we learn about Long Island Sound without looking at the water itself? Take samples of water from different locations and use tools to take measurements and compare them in order to learn more about the way water quality affects the health of the Sound.
Intertidal habitats– Examine a model of the rocky intertidal environment and meet and hold some of the creatures that call it home. Get your hands dirty and learn how the intertidal zone is impacted by human activities, and how we are affected by it.
Trawling- Deploy and retrieve our trawl net in order to learn about some of the equipment that field scientists use to study biodiversity and to come face-to-face with some of the residents of Long Island Sound. Collect, study, and touch animals from the lowest levels of the Sound.
Raising sails– Work together to set sail! Using a bit of muscle, we can turn our 80-foot floating classroom into a quiet, emissions-free way to travel Long Island Sound as it has been traveled for hundreds of years.
Oyster ecology– Observe the way that oysters impact their environment first-hand and learn about the critical role oyster aquaculture plays in Long Island Sound. Explore some of the ways that oysters are farmed and how they are connected to the overall health of the Sound.
Maritime careers- Explore potential new career paths within the world of maritime and environmental sciences. Discuss the extremely variable roles that are played by millions of people in order to understand, protect, and improve the waters that support our life on Earth, and learn how to get involved in this critical work.
Coastal Center & Laboratory –Advanced Science Programs
The SoundWaters Coastal Center and Laboratory are like no other classroom you’ve experimented in. Students are engaged in inquiry-based investigations and conducting experiments at the shoreline, in the water, in the aquarium and lab. Explore ecology, earth science, local aquatic animals and habitats and chemistry with the SoundWaters team. You can create your experience from a number of learning labs, size of groups, length of program and types of experiments and data collected. This one of a kind program will support and amplify your classroom lessons and enhance critical thinking skills and increase scientific literacy.
For questions and to customize a program for you and your students please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students will conduct hands-on experiments as they rotate through learning stations on and in Long Island Sound, at coastal habitats, in the SoundWaters laboratory and on our fleet of canoes. Students will be divided into small groups to assess the quality of Long Island Sound’s waters, collect data, measure species populations and examine trends in coastal erosion. The SoundWaters program is unique and unlike any other you will experience and will increase students scientific literacy and develop their critical thinking skills. Make this an experience that your students will remember and customize your program length, activities and experiments to support and amplify your classroom lessons.
Discover the variety of animals in the Long Island Sound watershed ecosystem. Learn how they adapt to changes including other populations, biotic and abiotic factors, food supply, predator / prey dynamics and water variations daily and over time. Determine who is a producer, scavenger or predator. Animals include: Diamond back terrapin, Horseshoe crab, flounder, oyster toad fish, spider crabs, oysters, sea stars etc.
Invasive Species Population Study:
To accurately assess population trends, a baseline survey must be conducted and then repeated. Students will examine Asian Shore Crabs, which play an important ecological role in the Long Island Sound food web. A decline in the number of crabs will impact other species. Students will follow field testing protocol to determine the population of crabs and other coastal species along a transect at the rocky shore. Students will assess and explain how human actions and weather impact coastal populations.
Coastal Habitat field experience:
An inquiry based hands-on exploration of the sandy beach and salt marsh. Emphasizing the fact that diversity and different life cycles of all organisms are important for the survival and health of Long Island Sound. Using transects students will conduct a population study of crab species, get up close and personal with the salt marsh and see why they rank among the most productive ecosystems on earth, discover and observe adaptations of local species at the sandy beach.
Horseshoe Crab Blood Lab:
In this bio-engineering experiment students will conduct an in-depth examination of the horseshoe crab’s anatomy and test and asses the importance of their blood to the medical field. Students will simulate real science in action. Using pipettes and microscopes, students will use the “blood” to determine which “vaccine” sample is contaminated.
Coastal Habitat Population Study -Seining
Teamwork in action! Students will work together and follow sampling protocol to collect local shallow animals including crabs, shrimp and fish. Using a dichotomous key students will identify and tally the animals and analyze the data. The population data will help recognize trends related to predator/prey relations, food sources and more. This is an in water learning station. Students are required to wear chest waders and lifejackets.
Canoe on Holly Pond
Teamwork in action! Paddle 14′ canoes on Holly Pond with your class. This distinctive opportunity is a wonderful way to engage every student in a different perspective when performing science experiments. Measure the slope of coastal substrate, test the water flow rate of a tidal pond and water quality variable to compare the data to Long Island Sound data points. Discuss human impact on coastal resiliency and habitats as you see the coastline firsthand.
Water Quality Comparative Analysis
The presence of human populations near waterways can have a dramatic effect on the quality of the water. Students will examine water samples for four locations throughout Connecticut and the Long Island Sound to discover how different land uses can impact water quality. The students will use scientific equipment to test the salinity and nitrate levels of four water samples. They will then examine four possible locations on a map and discuss how the water quality parameters could vary between these locations. The students will work as a group to compare water quality data tested and assign a water sample to each location on the map and discuss the results as a class. Students will come up with solutions for how to reduce human impact on the different areas.
Micro-plastics lab experiment
Single use plastics have become a large problem in the marine environment and become broken down into small components called micro-plastics. Students will conduct an experiment to compare the amount of small plastics in the water of Long Island Sound at two different locations, one in an open water area and one located near a salt marsh habitat. The students will isolate micro-plastics from the water sample using scientific equipment and analyze the sample with a microscope to discover various types of micro-plastics that may be present. They will compare the findings for each location and discuss how the salt marsh habitat is able to act as a filter for Long Island Sound.
Soil Erosion and filtration
The land contains a variety of permeable and impermeable surfaces, which can affect runoff and water quality. Students will be comparing the composition of ground materials found in an urban developed area and a park located along a waterway. The students will collect samples of earth materials and reconstruct the two areas as if they were a land developer planning a new project. They will construct the new areas and examine how runoff moves through each area. They will compare the runoff sample before and after it moves through and discuss the most efficient way to reduce runoff.
Coastal shoreline survey
Coastal resiliency can be affected by changes to the composition of coastlines including the addition and removal of natural materials. The students will conduct a canoe survey of a coastal tidal where they will examine the presence of salt marsh habitat and sea walls to discuss how erosion can occur over time in each of these areas and how to prevent impact from large storm surges. The students will analyze evidence of erosion and human impact due to development of coastal areas and discuss solutions on how to prevent storms and wave impact from affecting coastal areas.
High School Internships
Supervised training helps interns develop their professional skills and gain the hands-on experience that advances scientific (future) careers. Focused on understanding, protecting, and educating others about the important role that Long Island Sound has on our daily lives, a SoundWaters internship will give you a chance to learn these professional skills first hand.
Spring Senior Interns
(during the day in the spring season)
A Seasonal (May – June) Opportunity for Motivated Students
The SoundWaters spring internship is one of the premier marine science and education programs around. It draws on the complementary strengths and approaches of hands-on learning and field research. This is a unique and exciting program for students to use the local environment as a tool to learn career and life skills. Interns will work alongside SoundWaters team members and learn about Long Island Sound ecology, working with student groups, live animal identification, water chemistry, and the ecology of an estuary. Interns assist the educators and staff with aquarium care, program preparation, and teaching on field study programs and will have an opportunity to lead a learning station on their own. The program is in operation from May through June.
To participate in the SoundWaters Senior Internship Program, students must meet the following criteria:
- Have an interest in outdoor education
- Have all necessary approvals from high school
- Interns should have an interest in a field related to environmental science, education, communications or public relations. Experience with video editing, website design, and social media best practices is a plus.
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