This past week we wrapped up both our Young Naturalist Programs for children ages five to seven, and our Coastal Studies Programs for older students, ranging from grades three to eight. Youngsters from all over came to the Lloyd Center to learn, explore, and enjoy the outdoors.
Young Naturalists participated in multiple weeks, learning about forest and wetland habitats, animals, plants, and creating fun science experiments. The Young Naturalist Program ran Monday through Friday starting in July, until August 17th. Students visited exhibits in the Lloyd Center, interacted with live animals, and explored the coastal habitats here on the property. It was a blast seeing new faces and returning friends, each week with new topics to discover.
This year the Lloyd Center offered four Coastal Studies Programs for older students: Eureka!, Freshwater Wetlands, Marine Biology, and Tidal Surge. In the Eureka! program, students learned the science behind magnets, slime, the properties of water, and many other fascinating facts! Participants made their own science experiments and demonstrated to their parents and families at the end of the week.
Freshwater Wetlands participants discovered amazing animals which live in or near wetlands, including an up-close encounter with a great horned owl. Participants also learned about Native American traditions and how people have used freshwater resources for centuries, respecting the organisms which live there.
In the Marine Biology program, students visited many coastal habitats – exploring beaches, eel grass beds, marshes, and estuaries. Students collected marine organisms for closer study, and learned how rising acidity levels in the ocean can affect these organisms and habitats.
In the Tidal Surge program, students learned about marine food chains and food webs and how changing climate can affect them. Students visited coastal habitats, aquarium facilities, and the hurricane barrier in New Bedford, to discover first-hand how animals, including humans, are impacted by climate change.
Throughout all of these programs, Lloyd Center educators like myself provided hands-on educational opportunities for students to interact directly with their environment and learn more about how they can impact the ecosystem in a positive way. It was a pleasure to be able to teach one of these programs and be immersed in nature for the week!
by Katie Houseman, Lloyd Center Educator/Naturalist