by Adeline Bellesheim, Lloyd Center for the Environment Educator/Naturalist
It was an exciting time at the Lloyd Center for the Environment as the Young Naturalist and Coastal Studies Programs came to an end. These fun adventures in learning brought children from different states, and even from different countries, together to learn about the environment!
The Young Naturalist Program is the Lloyd Center’s summer program for children ages five to seven years old. With approximately 70 participants in the eight-week program, the program ran from July to August.
The young naturalists hiked through trails, fished at the estuary, and had many animal encounters this summer! Each week was set up with five science-friendly themes including: Under the Sea, In the Sky, Forest Frenzy, Ponds and Streams, and Eureka Friday. These topics guided Lloyd Center educators through fun lessons on the many habitats, plants, and creatures residing at the Lloyd Center.
The Coastal Studies Program is a more advanced summer program for children between third and eighth grades. This summer, the Lloyd Center offered four Coastal Studies Programs for 33 students that included a variety of topics. The summer was kicked off with a Wetland Wonders-themed week, followed by Tidal Surge, Forest Explorers, and finished up with Marine Biology.
Wetland Wonders was an exciting program where the children became field biologists and explored various habitats such as salt marshes, vernal pools and tidal pools. Through the week’s activities, students learned field-monitoring techniques, identification of plants and animals and data collection. During the explorations, the new scientists heard Green Frogs calling, banded Osprey fledglings, fished in the estuary, and dissected owl pellets.
The Tidal Surge program focused on Climate Change and its impacts on marine habitats and organisms. The students visited diverse coastal ecosystems such as the Slocum River at the Lloyd Center, the barrier beach at Barney’s Joy, the Buttonwood Zoo to view the rainforest and tidal pool exhibits, and the Cape Cod Canal to explore a rocky intertidal area. Each trip provided a new and interesting topic to demonstrate the importance of conservation.
In the Forest Explorers program, the children went deep into the woods to learn all about the different parts of a forest. They explored the maritime forest that surrounds the Lloyd Center and searched for the woodland creatures that reside there. The students became junior botanists as they learned all about the anatomy of plants.
The Coastal Studies Programs were closed out with a stimulating week all about Marine Biology. The students spent the week learning about various groups of marine organisms from sharks and whales all the way down to the plankton and seaweed. The new Marine Biologists focused on how various organisms were specially adapted for survival in their habitats and their role in the flow of energy through food webs. They practiced the engineering design process to build plankton tows and examined how increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere adversely affects shellfish in our oceans.
Each day of the Young Naturalist Program and the Coastal Studies Program offered new ways to learn about environmental studies from teachers with different scientific backgrounds. It was a fun and exciting summer at the Lloyd Center, and the Center’s educators are already excited and gearing for next year!