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  PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS
1
 Point Option High School
 Virginia. USA
2
 C S Ramachary Memorial   Matriculation School
 Madurai, India
3
 Wako Kokusai High School
 Wako. Japan
 
 
 
 
COURTNEY FALL GVC JOURNAL
I have put together some journal entries of the places my Field Biology class has visited. These places were amazing and really help me fully understand the reasons people need to throw away their trash in the appropriate places and not use fertilizers too close to a run off area. If you're feeling as if you had gone on the trips with us, as if you were sitting right next to me on the bus, then I have done my job. I want you to feel the happiness and sorrow I felt at these beaches. I want you to cry with me and rejoice with me when we pick up trash or save a Blue Crab from death. I hope you enjoy these entries as much I as did.

September 9, 2009
Dandy Point

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We drive 19.8 miles every month to visit and measure our 2,000 baby oysters. Driving towards the marina I could see boats just returning from a fishing trip or long vacation on the water. The smell of freshly caught fish pierced our noses. As we walked down the dock to the floating pier the boats rocked and hit the dampened wood of the dock. Everyone bundled in their jackets, took a seat on the narrow bench looking out toward the bay. About five or six students huddled around the side of the swaying dock to grab our oyster float. The choppy water splashed up towards their faces. Some jumped back wiping their already sprinkled faces; left to pick up the float were the true watermen.

Mrs. Raspanti handed everyone a ruler and told us to pick three tiny oysters and start the measuring process. About half of the class had their oysters and had already started measuring when a gust of wind knocked a stack of papers into the water. Everyone looked down in horror, for fear that those were our tests or report cards that had fallen into the salty depths of the Chesapeake Bay . We were soon informed that those had been the other class' homework papers that were already recorded in the computer. Someone grabbed a net and fished out the papers, even though the ink had been washed away.

We measured the oysters' length, they were growing very fast. Then we measured the salinity in the water… it wasn't as salty as you'd think. Soon after all our measuring was done I found Mrs. Raspanti laying on one of the floating docks with her hand in the water. She was grabbing something. When she pulled out the object, it was a very bright sea lettuce, almost too green to be real. We put it in our bucket to take back to our tank in the classroom. Everyone got back on the bus and we drove back to school thinking of the day and how much we saw.

September 24, 2009
Huntington

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Arriving at the beach I noticed ducks wadding a couple feet off shore. The sand was golden with a warm look. There was a net in the water surrounding the swimming area. The smell of the ocean enticing us with every crashing wave, as if saying come swim. While putting on the waders a couple students joked that they were going to catch a few ducks to add to our collection of class pets. I walked down the shoreline writing down observations about local wildlife. Seagulls flew over head taunting me to toss them a piece of food.

Distant screams change the focus of my attention to the students walking back to shore with the net full of fish. I run over to help get the fish from the net into buckets that we will take back to our classroom. Everyone's hands are in the net grabbing silver sides, blue crabs, pipe fish, and flounder tossing them into the closest bucket. The students trade off the waders with a couple other students and the next group takes the net out to gather more sea life. Another net full of creatures back to shore. We put these into buckets and some boys carry them to Mrs. Raspanti's truck.

Everyone is packing up and getting ready to head to the bus. As I was walking I notice something black moving in the sand, thinking it was a unique shell I reach down to pick it up. I almost had my hand around it when I realize it's some sort of crab. I scream for Mrs. Raspanti to come check it out. She informs me it's a Wharf Crab. We pick it up, collect some sand and a couple chips of wood, put him in a bucket and head back to school.

October 1 , 2009
Denbigh Docks

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Arriving at Denbigh Docks I noticed a hawk's nest high up in the tree tops. A salty breeze hit everyone's noses once they stepped off the bus. Mrs. Raspanti was waiting for us by a trail that led into some woods. We all gathered around her as she picked up the nearest stick and started drawing something in the sand. It was a pyramid, with separate little sections. She had drawn a wildlife pyramid, we were to fill in the blocks with species, ecosystems, and populations for which certain animals were categorized by. Everyone quickly wrote down some animals and we were on our way.

As we walked along the trails I could hear little creatures rustling behind the trees and in the bushes. I had a sweet thought about how nature was beautiful even in the marshy areas when I saw some wild flowers growing on the side of the path. When we came up to the first bridge I took the time to close my eyes and let my other senses take over. I quickly noticed the calm mood that the rivers were putting off. Birds singing in the distance, grass rubbing up against the bridge with every little breeze, even the fish splashing about in the water. When I opened my eyes I looked down to find little snails on the blades of grass making their way to the top.

Mrs. Rapsanti pointed out a spider that had built its home in between the two pieces of wood supporting the bridge. Everyone leaned over to say hello when they walked by. We walked the paths a little longer then came to another bridge. This bridge didn't have railings; instead it had students sitting on the edges with their nets in the water trying to trick the fish into them. Then as soon as we arrived we had to leave. Students protested and tried to convince Mrs. Raspanti to let us stay, but the bus was ready and the fun was over for one day.

October 8 , 2009
King-Lincoln Park

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Mrs. Raspanti informed us that going to King-Lincoln Park wasn't going to be like any other field trip we had been on. We drove 14 miles on a cold bus half full of students willing to help out in any way we could. As the bus pulled into the little parking lot I noticed a dark dampened children's playground made of wood. Stepping off the bus, Mrs. Raspanti handed out buckets, gloves, and trash bags. Everyone paired up and headed toward the beach. Walking on the sidewalk leading up to a single fishing pier, I was trying to figure out why we had so many buckets. Almost immediately after that thought I saw what once was a beautiful fishing spot, covered trash. Soda cans that had turned gray because of spending months in the sun and being washed with salt by the waves and fishing hooks, line, and lures waiting for animals to get caught in them.

We cleaned for one hour straight, only stopping to get a new bag. The beach had no trash left to be blown down the coast, and none of the animals had to worry about being trapped by human waste. Everything seemed to fit together perfectly. When we showed up the beach had no flow to it, now the birds can fly over head without mistaking a can for food, and fish can swim without weaving in and out of bags. Arriving we felt overwhelmed in not knowing if we could make this beach any better, but as each student stepped on the bus you could see them take a deep breath, and accomplishment cover their face.
 
I hope you enjoyed it :-)
 
- Courtney McDaniel
 
 
 
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