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K-12 Environmental Education Programs

Our experiential programs are designed with a balanced approach of meeting teacher’s needs in the classroom and introducing students to the Reserve’s research and stewardship activities. Our education program’s philosophy is that students, while onsite, are immersed in experiential, problem-based learning opportunities that focus on the scientific process. In addition to teaching students responsible ways to utilize technology for research, we provide students with equipment relevant to what science professionals utilize.

General information about our programs:

  • Fee: $10/trip (non-refundable) + $140/trip (if the lead teacher(s) do not participate in our upcoming 2017/2018 Teacher on the Estuary professional development opportunity)
  • Reservations are required (see tabs below to begin reservation)
  • Number of Students/Day: Minimum 15 students; Maximum 50 students (per day)
  • Number of Teachers/Chaperones per Day: must be a 10:1 student:teacher/chaperone ratio with no more than 6 chaperones per visit
  • Program Length: Two hours long (10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.); welcome to bring/eat lunch at picnic tables afterwards

Click on the tabs below for more information and to reserve a date for your school group. For a detailed description of our Education Program (goals, objectives, alignment, resources) please click here.

Our Junior Living Lab Series is a suite of environmental education programs that build environmental literacy and encourages personal responsibility while educating students about estuarine science through a combination of classroom curriculum and hands-on experiences. Because each teacher and classroom is unique we provide six different student field experiences for teachers to select from. The idea is you will select a field experience that correlates to what is being taught in the classroom. Thus, supporting your teaching efforts. Below are links one-pagers outlining the overall concepts and correlating standard alignment.

Level One: Traditional Estuary Explorers
Level Two: Traditional Estuary Explorers
Level Three: Coastal Expeditions
Level Four: Plankton Explorers
Level Five: Forest Expeditions
Level Six: Marshes on the Move

What
Level One - Estuary Explorers $10.00
Level Two - Estuary Explorers $10.00
Level Three - Coastal Expeditions $10.00
Level Four - Plankton Explorers $10.00
Level Five - Forest Expeditions $10.00
Level Six - Marshes on the Move $10.00
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Our Living Lab Series are programs structured around long-term monitoring and research programs occurring at the Reserve. In order to connect students to the program, the Living Lab Series are field experiences that are designed to assist with the integration of classroom curriculum into field research. The current experiences include: Beach Biosphere, Migrating Marshes, Planet Plankton, and Salt Marsh Seining. The framework for each experience allows for the difficulty level to be adjusted according to the grade level.

The Living Lab Series are also aligned with NOAA’s Estuaries 101 Curriculum.

Similar to Estuary Explorers, because each teacher and classroom is unique we provide four different student field experiences for teachers to select from. The idea is you will select a field experience that correlates to what is being taught in the classroom. Thus, supporting your teaching efforts. Below are links one-pagers outlining the overall concepts and correlating standard alignment.

Level Seven: Beach Biosphere
Level Eight: Migrating Marshes
Level Nine: Planet Plankton
Level Ten: Salt Marsh Seining

What
Level Seven - Beach Biosphere $10.00
Level Eight - Migrating Marshes $10.00
Level Nine - Planet Plankton $10.00
Level Ten - Salt Marsh Seining $10.00
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Our self-facilitated programs are ideal for home school groups.

Level One: Eco-Explorers
Level Two: Coastal Crusaders
Level Three: Plankton Patrol
Level Four: Upland Adventures
Level Five: Estuary Dynamics
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These are the environmental and water quality parameters students measure during their onsite field experience to the GTM Research Reserve. See below for visual, interactive representations of their data and to access the raw data to utilize in the classroom.

Click here to access Guana South Data (Guana River)
Click here to access Guana North Data (Guana Lake)
Click here to access Guana Beach Condition Data
These are the organisms students have identified during their onsite field experience to the GTM Research Reserve. See below for visual, interactive representations of their data and to access the raw data to utilize in the classroom.

Click here to access Guana South Data (Guana River).
Click here to access Guana North Data (Guana Lake)
Below are beach elevation profiles created from student-collected data. To access the raw data click here. The average for each month of data collected is shown in the charts (note the date on the bottom left hand side of the graph). Click the play icon to see the progression through time.

Below are interactive charts showing the amount of marine debris collected by students and volunteers from 2012-Present. Each year shows the top 10 most commonly found items.

Extreme Weather and Estuaries
Learn about the importance of estuaries, NERRs and the impact of severe storms.

Oyster Anatomy
Make your own flip book to help you and your students learn how oysters filter the water around us.

Oyster Reef Battleship First, learn about the importance of oysters and how it is they filter water, and then play the oyster reef battleship game.

Indoor Mini-Seine
Using a dichotomous key, students can get the experience of conducting a seine within the classroom

Marsh Mystery Water
Explore the density of several different salt solutions, and demonstrate the changes in salinity that occur when freshwater streams enter the salty ocean.
Plankton Races
A GTM favorite, where students learn about buoyancy, density, surface area, as well as the importance of biodiversity within our ocean. Click here to view and print guide sheets to plankton commonly found at the GTM Research Reserve.

Phyto, Phyto, Zoo
An introduction to Phytoplankton and Zooplankton for elementary aged students.

Echolocation Game
Discuss how animals adapt over time, and how some animals, like bats and dolphins, have more senses than others, like humans. Mitigating Microplastics
Middle school curriculum about microplastics in our ocean. The curriculum was developed and evaluated as project in Marine Resource Management at Oregon State University.
Floating Ice
Students design and carry our an experiment to learn about density, climate change and the difference between glaciers and icebergs and their impacts on sea-level rise.

NASA Climate Kids
Over 30 classroom and home activities modelling the effects of climate change in all a variety of ecosystems.
These are online professional development modules complimenting onsite teacher professional development opportunities. It is strongly encouraged that you are registered for an onsite training. Continue to check out the calendar for upcoming training opportunities. Click a module to begin.

Junior Living Lab Series (Elementary)

Level One (Estuary Explorers)

Level Two (Estuary Explorers)

Level Three (Coastal Expeditions)

Level Four (Plankton Explorers)

Level Five (Forest Expeditions)

Level Six (Migrating Mangroves)

Living Lab Series

Level Seven (Beach Biosphere)

Level Eight (Migrating Marshes)

Level Nine (Planet Plankton)

Level Ten (Salt Marsh Seining)