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Archives - December 2016

Marinas that keep BOTH boaters & the eels swimming under them happy!

December 01, 2016
By Karen Mattick

6th Graders Obi, Tyler, and Henri admire one of the marina projects in Marine Biology classIn 2001 I read an article in The Seattle Times about the expansion of the Washington State ferry terminal on Whidbey Island, designed to mitigate damage to the eelgrass beds under the proposed dock.  That inspired the Eelgrass Mitigation Project.  This is a culminating project at the end of the 6th grade Marine Biology unit about eelgrass beds.  Students design and build a model of a marina that would provide services to boaters and, at the same time, get adequate light to marine plants, prevent sewage pollution, and clean-up fuel contamination.

6th grader Sofia and one of the marina projects from her Marine Biology classDuring the unit, students learn about the value of eelgrass beds as a nursery for many juvenile sea creatures.  They learn about the adaptions of the many organisms who live in the grass.  They learn about photosynthesis and cellular respiration and about food webs in the eelgrass habitat.  They also design and carried out their own oil spill experiments, testing clean-up materials. Each student also collects water samples from local ponds, creeks, puddles, and beaches and tests for fecal coliform contamination, a possible indicator of sewage pollution. Finally, they used Puget Soundbook, by Jim Kolb, to learn about good boater practices.

Students presented their marina models in class today, and shared the websites, brochures, and slide shows they made to advertise their marinas and educate boaters.

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