About Estuary Chesapeake

Estuary Chesapeake is SERC’s most popular education program and involves a series of five stations at SERC’s dock and the Java History Trail. The class is divided into 5 groups that each rotate through all stations. The five stations of Estuary Chesapeake are: About Crabs, Water Testing, Oyster Bar Community, Investigating Plankton, and Going Fishing (seining).

  • Check out the Parent/Teacher Training Presentation — this powerpoint teaches you all you need to know about SERC, the Estuary Chesapeake program, and how to be a Station Leader. 

A Brief Description of the Stations

  1. About Crabs
    Using hand lines and a hand trap, students catch their own crabs and study them to learn about their anatomy and behavior. Crab habitat is also discussed. Click here to read the section of the Estuary Chesapeake Manual about the crab station, and here for Blue Crab talking points.
  2. Water Testing
    Using a variety of tests, students will measure the water quality parameters salinity, pH, turbidity, and temperature, and discuss the results.  Below is a picture of the dock where we will be doing our water testing right on the Rhode River in Edgewater, MD!  Click here to read the section of the manual about this station, and here for Water Testing talking points.
  3. Oyster Bar Community
    Students learn about the habitat that oyster shells provide for small crabs, fish, and invertebrates.  They also will learn about oysters’ ability to filter water. (Fun fact: Oysters can filter about 50 gallons of water a day!)  Click here to read the section of the manual about this station, and here for Oyster Bar talking points.
  4. Investigating Plankton
    After completing a plankton tow from the dock, students will use microscopes to observe plant and animal plankton found in the Chesapeake Bay. Click here to read the section of the manual about this station, and here for Plankton talking points.
  5. Seining (Going Fishing)
    Donning chest waders, students wade into the water to catch fish and other organisms with a seine net. The students then identify the animals (like the White Perch below!). Physiological aspects of fish anatomy are also discussed. Click here to read the section of the manual about this station, and here for Seining talking points.

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