On Wednesday, April 6th, 2016, we offered a marine ecosystems workshop in the José Rodríguez de Soto Elementary School from Guánica. The activity was attended by 28 fifth-grade students, several parents, a professor from the Universidad del Este and two college students. During the workshop, we talked about the mangrove forest and read the Pepe Uca’s Treasure storybook. While the story was read out loud, several of the students, teachers and parents acted it out, with the educators making up the characters’ voices. It was a very fun moment, as well as an educational one, since the story points out where along the coasts of Puerto Rico one may find mangrove forests and what conditions these specialized trees need to survive. Then, we offered information about seagrass beds. At this moment, we stopped to play a game which highlighted this ecosystem’s importance. Students were entertained while they learned. After this, we presented coral reefs as a topic and showed them coral and animal samples, including sea turtles. Finally, students were shown a video which summarizes the information offered during the lectures. It was a great experience for everyone involved.

On Friday, April 8th, 2016, the students, teachers, parents and guests went on a fieldtrip to Playita Rosada. There, they had the chance to observe the ecosystems studied during the workshop and perform several activities related to them. They saw firsthand the mangrove trees and their characteristics, analyzed sand composition, and touched seagrasses and marine invertebrate so they could understand them better. Furthermore, they learned climate and weather concepts so they could make their own weather forecast. It was a very enriching experience.

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