On Friday, October 19th, 2018, students from the Ramón Olivares Elementary School in Lajas visited Magueyes Island to enjoy a guided tour and learn about the marine and coastal ecosystems found there. When they reached the parking lot, they were ferried to the island on a boat, something that excited them since many of them had never been on a boat. The first thing they observed upon reaching the island was the impressive iguanas that live there. Then they went to the Visitors Center to begin their field trip. They were given an official welcome and received a brief lecture on the University of Puerto Rico’s Sea Grant Program and the Department of Marine Sciences. Once this was over, they received instructions and went on the guided tour. First, they climbed the watchtower. While walking there, they observed several plants that are characteristic to the area. When they reached the watchtower, they viewed the mangrove cays dotting the La Parguera landscape. While there, the students observed the clouds and measured several weather parameters while they learned about the differences between weather and climate. When they finished this activity, they climbed down and went to the main building so they could learn about sand composition.

There, they analyzed several sand samples and filled out a sample sheet. This activity was very enjoyable to them, since they observed grains of sand through a microscope and saw them as never before. The next activity was to know the mangrove trees that live on the island. To do this, they went outside the building and walked around to see the characteristics setting the mangroves apart from one another. To cap off the day, they went to the specimen collection pool in front of the Visitor’s Center to get some firsthand knowledge about marine invertebrates. Some of the organisms they interacted with were sea stars, black sea urchins, sea cucumbers and more. When finished, they went back to the dock, very happy to have enjoyed such a delightful and enriching experience. We hope to see them again soon!

By Delmis del C. Alicea Segarra, EdD
Photo credits: Efra Figueroa
Translated by Wilmarie Cruz Franceschi, MA

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