Our New Floating Classroom: Hands-On Leaning, On The River
Published: July 16, 2020
You’re invited to experience an intimate, hands-on environmental and scientific adventure on the Severn River.
Introducing SRA’s new Floating Classroom, where “class” is held aboard our 20-ft. Maritime Skiff, The Sea Girl.
Sponsored by the Chaney Foundation, the Floating Classroom program provides science-based experiences to enhance our appreciation of the Scenic Severn River.
During our 2- to perhaps 3- hour tour, students get a chance to learn about conditions in the water as they use water quality monitoring equipment to check on oxygen levels, pH, temperature, salinity and clarity.
They’ll also sample, identify and map our underwater grasses, check on our oysters and review other habitat for the creatures that share the river with us.
This is a fun program for students of all ages. To the right, four 7th graders enjoyed the boat ride, studying oysters and identifying underwater grasses.
Four rising seniors at Indian Creek School joined us for a Floating Classroom expedition sponsored by our student reporter, Havana Mullaly, and hosted by SRA Executive Director, Tom Guay.
To the left is are Rebecca Streidel, Jenna Bellet, Havana and Addy Mock. The girls took water quality readings at our Marylanders Grow Oysters reef in the Severn (pretty good conditions).
That’s Jenna Bellet at right giving the thumbs up after completing the first round of data recording at the MGO reef known as Traces Hollow.
We started here so Havana and her pals could compare water quality conditions to those in Luce Creek (not so good).
Then we moved the Floating Classroom up stream to sample and identify underwater grasses, the fabled submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV).
Using guidebooks and an SAV Watchers datasheet, the team identified the SAV that thrives outside of Rays Pond: Widgeon, Redhead and Sago Pondweed.
And they learned how to prepare a sample of the submerged aquatic vegetation for proper identification.
Here’s a great Widgeon sample prepared by Rebecca Streidel.
Schedule Your Adventure!
Thanks to support from the Chaney Foundation, we are now scheduling adventures for small groups, up to 4 students, in Sea Girl. This is hands-on citizen science that helps us all better appreciate and treasure the Severn River! The tours last 2 to 3 hours.
The 20-ft classroom affords room for social distancing while students learn first hand how to:
- take a clarity reading with a Secchi Disk,
- measure oxygen, pH, temperature, salinity and clarity,
- contribute to expanding our understanding of the Severn River,
- identify species of underwater grasses, and
- see what a restored reef looks like on the bottom of the river on a sonar-based fishfinder screen.
If you know students, friends, children, adults (yes, they’re students too!) who’d be interested in a scientific adventure on the Severn aboard Sea Girl, please email Info@severnriver.org and put “Classroom” in the message box.