As a kid, who didn’t love a break from class to go on a fun field trip? One of my most memorable was a trip to Gumbo Limbo Environmental Center in Boca Raton, Fl. during 7th grade. We were given seine nets and taught to do the “sting-ray shuffle” in the shallow intracoastal waters so as not to get stung while walking and collecting fish, crabs, shrimp, jellyfish… you name it.
Everything we collected was placed in large buckets and, at the end, we were taught about all the different creatures we had found then released them back into the water. It was a magical and interactive trip and I carry that memory vividly with me today.
I was researching things to entertain myself during the last few weeks of summer vacation a few days ago and… low and behold I found a link to Gumbo Limbo’s “Seinging the Lagoon” Program, but this time it was open to the public! Of course, I registered and went.
The program was comprised of a very informative 30 min presentation about local mangroves and wildlife, followed by casting the seine in the intracoastal just as I remembered doing as a girl. We caught a barracuda which was large enough to be deemed worthy of the nature center’s beautiful tank, a large blowfish, jelly fish, a pipefish (related to the seahorse), shrimp, various small fish and one lonely hermit crab. As we found things and oogled at our buckets, the nature center’s volunteer exclaimed “its exhilarating isn’t it?!” It WAS exhilarating to see so much life in such a small, shallow area… even for someone who has probably assisted with hundreds of these classes. Imagine what exists in the depths of the sea! Conservation is so imperative as is educating our youth about the importance of appreciating seeing the beauty of their local environment so that they appreciate and care for it as adults.
Here are some pics of my fun little adventure: