A tradition since the early 90’s, Sumner Academy’s fifth grade recently returned from a 3-day trip to the Barrier Island Environmental Camp on St. John’s Island in South Carolina. At camp the students enjoyed classes in ocean/beach ecology, a campfire, reptile study and an environmental boat ride in the estuary. On the boat tour of the estuary, students kept an eye out for dolphins and eagles. Students seined for ocean animals and then identified the species. Later they visited the Barrier Island aquarium where they saw even more species.
Back at camp, it was finally time for the student’s favorite class, Let’s Sea, or as we know it, a visit to the Mud Pit. First is a half mile walk down the beach with frequent stops to explore beach ecology and wild life. Sightings included various crabs including a horseshoe crab, algae, raccoon tracks, shells, jellyfish and most intriguing – Sea Pork.
Then it was into the salt marsh to explore a different ecology, and finally, they made their way to the mud pit, or tidal pool. Students arrived at low tide and saw hundreds of tiny crabs and the infamous mud. While some may have to pay a great deal of money for a mud bath, the students got one for free. This class is such a favorite that alumni in their 20’s and 30’s still come back and talk about their experiences.
An exhausting but exciting time was had by all. At the end of the trip, students were presented with the coveted Pupils of the Platinum Plate award for having no food waste (ORT) for the entire week.