Many children consider the world’s ocean as so distant and awesome, so vast and deep, that they rarely think about their connections to this vital element of nature.
With more than 70% of our planet covered by water, it is important that future generations of decision makers are informed about this fragile resource. The ocean is fascinating, complex and fragile. In order to protect it, we must understand it.
At The Pier Aquarium, we believe that the more children know about the oceans and come to understand them, the more they will care for them and want to work hard to protect them from pollution or destruction.
Ocean in Motion
"Ocean in Motion” is a traveling touch tank where students learn how to set up a saltwater aquarium from collecting specimens to maintaining the habitat. The exhibit, funded initially by the Sunrise Rotary Club and the St. Petersburg Times, was first on display at Southside Fundamental Middle School in 2005 and resided at Great Explorations, 1825 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg for the summer.
Funding for the 2006 school year, provided in part by the Pinellas County Commission through the Pinellas County Cultural Affairs Department's Cultural Development Grant Program, the Sunrise Rotary Club, Beach Drive and Downtown Business Association and Media Sponsor St. Petersburg Times, continued the move of the touch tank aquarium to Tarpon Springs Elementary, Ridgecrest Elementary (in Largo) and Meadowlawn Middle School. "Ocean in Motion" students study water quality, the food web and animal behavior and are introduced to topics such as animal care, marine diversity, adaptations, aquarium management and ecosystem stewardship. Once the marine habitat is established, they can discover the ocean and its creatures without leaving the classroom.
2010 Ocean in Motion sponsors are the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the Hough Family Foundation, the Tampa Bay Estuary Program License Plate Program and the Alvah H. and Wyline P. Chapman Foundation.
The activity is coordinated by The Pier Aquarium's Education Department and Aquarist Staff, which includes students from the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, Eckerd College and St. Petersburg College.
Downtown Business Association
The Alvah H. and Wyline P.
The Sunrise Rotary Club
Kids doing research on the watershed is the idea behind this new program housed at Campbell Park Elementary Marine Science Center located at 1051 Seventh Ave. S in St. Petersburg. Their monitoring and research of the watershed and the local weather will teach them firsthand the effects they - and other people have - on Booker Creek. Their information will be shared with fellow students, city officials and researchers at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science.
Campbell Park school is strategically located in an active urban watershed adjacent to Booker Creek, which empties directly into Tampa Bay, and an estuarine theme is integrated throughout its entire curriculum. Campbell Park teachers and Pier Aquarium and USF staff developed a series of lesson plans for Watershed Watchers that use the real-time data to teach basic science and math skills.
The fifth graders and teachers will conduct their research via a monitoring station with a variety of live sensors extending into Booker Creek and a meteorological tower built behind the school. They will study water temperature, water level, pH, dissolved oxygen, wind speed, air temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, precipitation and conductivity. They will also track small and large scale events in their backyard that affect water quality, ecology and water flow in the creek and participate in "hands-on” experiential programs facilitated by The Pier Aquarium’s marine education staff.
And, they will provide the data collected in the form of a report card to St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker on a regular basis. They’ll also report the weather information every day at school during the morning television program.
Watershed Watchers is sponsored by grants from the Pinellas County Environmental Fund, the Pinellas County Education Foundation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Services Center. Collaborative agencies include the University of South Florida College of Marine Science Ocean Modeling and Prediction Lab and Pinellas County Environmental Distance Learning.