K-12 Environmental Education Programs

Volunteer TrainingThe experiential programs are designed with a balanced approach of attempting to meet teacher’s needs in the classroom and introducing students to the Reserve’s research and stewardship activities. Our education program’s philosophy is that students, while onsite, are immersed in experiential, problem-based learning opportunities that focus on the scientific process. In addition to teaching students responsible ways to utilize technology for research, we provide students with equipment relevant to what science professionals utilize.

General information about our programs

  • Reservation is required (see tabs below to begin reservation)
  • Lessons are aligned to State and National standards, and Ocean and Estuarine Literacy Principles
  • Minimum 10 students; Maximum 45 students (per day)
  • Two hours long (10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.); welcome to bring/eat lunch at picnic tables afterwards
  • No fee for school groups with reservation
  • 10:1 student:teacher/chaperone ratio (no more than six chaperones)

Click on the tabs below for more information and to reserve a date for your school group. For a detailed description of our Education Program (goals, objectives, alignment, resources) please click here.

Estuary Explorers programEstuary Explorers, an environmental education program that builds environmental literacy and encourages personal responsibility while educating students about estuarine science through a combination of classroom curriculum and hands-on experiences. Click here to begin the reservation process.

Because each teacher and classroom is unique we provide six different student field experiences for teachers to select from. The idea is you will select a field experience that correlates to what is being taught in the classroom. Thus, supporting your teaching efforts. Below are links one-pagers outlining the overall concepts and correlating standard alignment.

Level One: Traditional Estuary Explorers
Level Two: Traditional Estuary Explorers
Level Three: Coastal Expeditions
Level Four: Plankton Explorers
Level Five: Forest Expeditions
Level Six: Migrating Marshes
SummerCamp_Seining_2014The middle and high school and college programs are structured around long-term monitoring and research programs occurring at the Reserve. In order to connect students to the program, the Living Lab Series are field experiences that are designed to assist with the integration of classroom curriculum into field research. The current experiences include: Beach Biosphere, Migrating Marshes, Planet Plankton, and Salt Marsh Seining. The framework for each experience allows for the difficulty level to be adjusted according to the grade level. Click here to begin the reservation process.

The Living Lab Series are also aligned with NOAA’s Estuaries 101 Curriculum.

Similar to Estuary Explorers, because each teacher and classroom is unique we provide four different student field experiences for teachers to select from. The idea is you will select a field experience that correlates to what is being taught in the classroom. Thus, supporting your teaching efforts. Below are links one-pagers outlining the overall concepts and correlating standard alignment.

Beach Biosphere
Migrating Marshes
Planet Plankton
Salt Marsh Seining
These are the environmental and water quality parameters students measure during their onsite field experience to the GTM Research Reserve. See below for visual, interactive representations of their data and to access the raw data to utilize in the classroom.

Click here to access Guana South Data (Guana River) Click here to access Guana North Data (Guana Lake) Click here to access Guana Beach Condition Data
These are the organisms students have identified during their onsite field experience to the GTM Research Reserve. See below for visual, interactive representations of their data and to access the raw data to utilize in the classroom.

Click here to access Guana South Data (Guana River). Click here to access Guana North Data (Guana Lake)
Below are beach elevation profiles created from student-collected data. To access the raw data click here. The average for each month of data collected is shown in the charts (note the date on the bottom left hand side of the graph). Click the play icon to see the progression through time.

There is no telling what you might find during a Marine Debris Clean-up

There is no telling what you may find during a Marine Debris Clean-up

Self guided experiences allow for you and your group to go at your own pace, choose what you want to do, and explore as far into the GTM Research Reserve as your exploration cap will allow.

Self-Guided Experience Options:

Hikes
Yellow Trail
Cultural Hike
Nature Hike

Exhibit Hall
Adult Scavenger Hunt
Elementary Scavenger Hunt

Marine Debris Clean-up
Script
Beach Scavenger Hunt
Saltmarsh Seining
Extreme Weather and Estuaries
Learn about the importance of estuaries, NERRs and the impact of severe storms.

Oyster Anatomy
Make your own flip book to help you and your students learn how oysters filter the water around us.

Oyster Reef Battleship First, learn about the importance of oysters and how it is they filter water, and then play the oyster reef battleship game.

Indoor Mini-Seine
Using a dichotomous key, students can get the experience of conducting a seine within the classroom

Marsh Mystery Water
Explore the density of several different salt solutions, and demonstrate the changes in salinity that occur when freshwater streams enter the salty ocean.
27701116066_a4e61251bd_oPlankton Races
A GTM favorite, where students learn about buoyancy, density, surface area, as well as the importance of biodiversity within our ocean.

Phyto, Phyto, Zoo
An introduction to Phytoplankton and Zooplankton for elementary aged students.

Echolocation Game
Discuss how animals adapt over time, and how some animals, like bats and dolphins, have more senses than others, like humans.
26664558243_07a0d71fb0_oFloating Ice
Students design and carry our an experiment to learn about density, climate change and the difference between glaciers and icebergs and their impacts on sea-level rise.

NASA Climate Kids
Over 30 classroom and home activities modelling the effects of climate change in all a variety of ecosystems.