Project Oceanology gives students a first-hand look at the sea

Reported by Sydney Bond Cavanaugh, Norwich Free Academy

NEW LONDON -- Norwich Free Academy and New London high school students recently loaded onto the Enviro-Lab 2 research vessel at the Groton facility for Project Oceanology.

Despite the freezing temperatures the students went out on the sound to catch a glimpse of wildlife and learn about their habitat.

This partnership between the two schools was the first of its kind.  Danielle Banko is an employee and Project Oceanology who worked with the students during the trip.

"I think they worked great together. I definitely think when they get more involved, when they can see it and touch, it makes it more tangible and then they can relate the back to what they are learning in the classroom," said Banko.

The students conducted a field study of seals in the area, discussed features of other animals and the geography of the Thames River. This gave students like Jonathan Lopez, a junior at New London high school, a new to look at local sea life. "If you get hands-on learning with the exact situation, you could be in the classroom this on video and they show you 50 seals and you go out and you only see 20, so you get the hands-on action."

The seal watch is just one of the many programs that Project Oceanology offers for people of all ages. " We work a lot with the school groups and the camps," said Banko.

Project Oceanology's goal since 1972 has been to interact with and educate students. Over 25,000 students and adults visit per year.

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