On Thursday, Nov. 9, the students of the Marine Biology class, Green Club, and 10th grade took a trip to Sandy Hook in Highlands, NJ. They were joined by W+H faculty members Schuyler Weiss, Nicole Nolan, Tony Diaz, Brent Giles, John McClain and Andrew Sullivan. The students were guided by a team of marine scientists/conservationists with the American Littoral Society. This organization is active in several areas, such as habitat restoration and engineering, beach sweeps, and educational outreach.
The W+H students and chaperones were met with great weather, and brought an excitement to learn about and interact with the incredible ecosystems of Sandy Hook. This trip was not only a great opportunity to learn about the local marine ecosystems, but also a great chance to connect with our local history.
Students spent time learning about and identifying various bivalves and crustaceans of the local ecosystems while walking the beach and collecting shells. Another lesson was focused on the remarkable horseshoe crab! These incredible animals pre-date dinosaurs by millions of years, and have not changed since their evolution. These animals are even integral to our modern medical system, as their blood is used in manufacturing medications.
The final activity was seining, and species identification of the animals that the group encountered. The practice of seining pre-dates North American colonization and was an important technique used by various indigenous peoples, including the Lenni-Lenape people that inhabited the region. While seining, the students encountered species such as the Atlantic Silverside, Mud Dog Whelk, Hermit Crab, Banded Killifish, as well as sponges and algae.
Photos by Nicole Nolan