One of our projects as trainees was to host a Youth Camp for the advanced science students of the local high school. Thus last Saturday, we had 7 different teams of high school students, each equipped with a Peace Corps counselor and fancy marine science name tags. Our teams rotated between various stations including coral, seagrass and mangrove ecology, climate change, waste management, fish anatomy and the invertebrate taxonomy class that I co-instructed. The camp content was reminiscent of the curriculum at regularly taught at MarineLab, however species were Pacific-specific and added in several games and the ever-important meryenda (snack) to our program. For my invertebrate lab, I woke up at 5am to go snorkeling and collect urchins, sea stars, crabs, cowries, snails, sea cucumbers and sponges for students to look at. The students were already familiar with the major marine phyla and worked to sort our sample critters accordingly as they learned the common characteristics of each major phylum.
- Echinoderms (spiny skin and tube feet): sea stars, brittle stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers
- Arthropods (jointed appendages): crabs, hermit crabs, shrimp
- Mollusks (soft squishy body, hard shell): snails, cowies, sea hares, sea slugs, nudibranches
- Cnidaria (stinging cells): corals, anemones, jellyfish
- Porifera (pores): sponges
Fun Fact: Did you know that 97% of all animals are invertebrates!?!