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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Galveston turtle rescue

Another joy of home schooling.  My son took a marine biology class for science at co op this year.  It wan't his favorite class - just because he 'will never use it.'  The girls were totally jealous because they are both saying they want to be a vet (last year it was a cheerleader, you know how it goes).  

One of the projects they were supposed to do is take photos of gulf coast marine life, identify it, and put it together in a presentation, and tell the class about it.  They were to identify five of each; plants, water creatures (like fish and crabs) and birds. 

As a class, all the students went to Galveston and found a lot of things to photograph.  Of course, depending on the student and their interests, they all had different things in their presentations.  

Depending on the day, time, and weather will determine what you see in and around Galveston.  Last year for a different science project we went to four different waterways to find bird photos.  We live near a bird sanctuary.  We barely made the deadline because of the cool weather.  

On a cold February day, I took my three children and two of my sons classmates to Galveston.  They had another four or five weeks to work on this project, but this was a great excuse to go to the NOAA turtle rescue.  I have been wanting to go here for so long!

The tour started in a classroom setting.  We watched a slideshow that talked about the different types of turtles in the world, which ones are found in Galveston.  There was some really interesting info on where they live, how to protect them, coral reefs (in Galveston!), and the lives of turtles.  I was very proud of my little group - they were able to answer every single question asked by the presenters.

After this we went to see the turtles.  On the way we got to see a fish net that has been developed to keep turtles safe.  Here you see one of the girls acting like a turtle and crawling through the net, and out the turtle escape (Turtle excluder Device - aka the TED).  Once we got to the turtle building we were able to wander for nearly twenty minutes and just look at all the marine life.  There were over 100 Kemps Ridley turtles in this building.

After getting lots of photos, I took the kids across the ferry to Boliver Peninsula.  The boys found nearly all the photos they needed. Pelicans, cattails, jelly fish, barnacles...... Not a good day for birds, we only saw seagulls and pelicans, but we got a few photos of a pod of dolphins!  There were 3 adults and a few babies.  We often see dolphins in this area, sometimes sharks and once I saw hundreds of jellyfish.

If you are in the area, this is such a fantastic place to visit.  The tour is free, but they only do this on Thursdays.  You must schedule the tour ahead of time.  Check the website, there is some great info to prepare you for your visit, or if you are no where near Galveston, it is a great source of information on some of the Gulf wildlife.

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