#11: Celebrating a Succesful Education Program at the Bimini School

I'm sorry for not posting a blog last night. We took the RIB (the red inflatable boat) into town to have a good time because it was on our list of things to do.

We needed to go have a good time and celebrate because …

We ran a WILDLY successful education program for the Bimini school. We invited students and teachers to come onto the boat and learn about the Aquarium's collecting trips. About 30 kids and 4 teachers came and participated in 4 education activities. We relied on our aquarist staff and participants to lead the different activities, and everyone rocked it.

Fish Husbandry
Chris and Don rocked. They had the kids completely engaged, leaning over the platforms to observe the fishes different behaviors, using an aquascope to get a closer look at their shapes and colors and helping to feed the fish their last meal before they were shipped. I think the coolest part was that the kids were sharing their own names and stories of the fish we collected. One of our commenters wanted to know if you can eat black durgon (mom). Apparently you can and according to one student they are delicious! But before you run to the store to pick it up, check the Aquarium's sustainable seafood list to see if it's a good seafood choice.


Expedition members Jeremy and Susan had the students picking up and identifying different adaptations these little creatures have. Jeremy was a natural, acting out different behaviors and encouraging them to pick up and touch the animals. Susan, a gynecologist, had a chance to mentor a student who wants to become a gynecologist.

Fish Collection

Biologist Sherrie and team member Russ threw themselves into the activity, they were both down on the ground demonstrating the process, and surely keeping the kids entertained on the process. They also encouraged students to think critically about the challenges and problem solving associated with catching fish for our exhibits.

Invasive Species
I ran this activity with expedition team member Scott, and was so impressed with how bright these students were. They had done a unit on invasive plant species and were able to apply what they had already learned to the invasive lionfish now found in the Bahamas. Scott jumped in to run the last group by himself so that I could roam around and observe the other activities. He told me that the kids asked what the lionfish's natural predators are in the Pacific, and he didn't know the answer so he said "Dragons." I'm still not entirely sure if he was joking or not.

To wrap up I asked the students to jot down anything they would want our blog readers to know about where they live or their experience on the boat. Here's what they had to say...

"We have the best waters in the world!" - Gezelle

"It is VERY beautiful" -Cristal

"The people are very hospitable" - Levia

"They take their jobs very seriously and the fishes are beautiful" - Latrowia

"We learned a lot about the fishes we have on our island and in our waters and we now know that our water is the best in the world" - Shanique

We sent them off with "Live Blue" Aquarium hats (you can see the "Live Blue" t-shirts here) and an I.D. Booklet of all the fish we were hoping to collect. In return one student thanked us on behalf of her school, and we all, even Russ, teared up a bit.

Now I need to take a minute to try and right something. After the program we walked around town and ran into Marie, an aspiring Marine Biologist. I invited her to come check out the boat and all the animals we collected. Just as we were pulling away from the dock she showed up with her family and we missed them. It was the most disappointing part of the trip for me, to let this young lady down, so ... Marie from Ontario, if you're reading this, I'm so sorry we missed you, and please email me.


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