Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Manatees & Springs Adventure Rings in the New Year!

Green Edventures rang in the New Year with 13 students and 2 adults from a Clintonville High, School from Wisconsin over the winter break December 28-January 1. They were the first of 3 groups planned for 2016-2017 at our new and exciting domestic destination set on King’s Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Crystal River Florida!

Kayaking the Chass, Florida's Amazon.

Using fun outdoor adventures like sea kayaking, hiking, an airboat ride, pontoon rides and of course snorkeling with the West Indian Manatee, combined with a student-centered environmental education program, the students learned about how springs are important to not just the wildlife that live in this bio diverse place, but the people too.

Each day the students shared the responsibilities in collecting species lists, and a summary of the day’s activities which they presented each night and wrote the narrative in the trip report. You can view the full report written by our students by clicking on This Link to Trip Report
Trip Report Cover

Additionally, everyone was required to write down a question each day and were required to find the answer by the following night. It was so great to see the questions evolve from broad topics like what are springs to why can commercial entities use the springs unregulated?  Some students were interested in wildlife and others were interested in conservation. That is the fun part about leading a student-centered inquiry-based trip. We set the stage for them to be wowed by a place, and the questions come naturally.

Evening class & discussions

Most definitely, the highlight of the trip was snorkeling with manatees. There were so many manatees. When the temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico drop below 38 degrees F, the manatees come into the spring for warmth in the constant 72 degree water. Our students are led by a local, licensed, and permitted guide for an encounter they will never forget.  Our approach is passive. We have to stay on the surface and passively observe the manatees. These are endangered animals and are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. There are big fines for breaking the rules in the refuge. The good news is that the students were awesome and respectful. Some even had a manatee come right up to them. The link to the video is provided. It is important to know that the group was under the supervision of the guide at all times and this manatee approached them for interaction. It even came back for another visit. So special!! Watch the video of Green Edventures students with manatees.

Snorkeling with Manatee. Photo Credit Smejkal.

In just a few weeks Green Edventures will be leading another group (this time a middle school group from Bennett, CO) and then a teacher’s professional development trip in June. These trips are upgraded to Expedition Team. Here, participants use 21st century technology to supplement their field research to collect digital archives of their adventure.

If you are interested in taking your students on this trip, you should check out the tour information here: http://greenedventures.com/tours/florida-manatees-adventure/

Group size is 10 students plus 1 teacher/chaperone. A second teacher or spouse can come for a discounted rate. Let us know your spring break, winter break, or early summer dates and we can pencil you in our schedule for 2018 trips.
Tara Short

tara@greenedventures.com for more information or call 715-252-1238