Even with a few days distance from the (hopefully) inaugural field trip with the AP Bio class from Rocklin Collegiate Academy, I’m still shocked by how smoothly everything went. On Friday, we set up the Winogradsky columns (see post here.) On Saturday morning, were were so fortunate to be at the Bodega Marine Lab on the day when UC Davis Biological Sciences freshman are bussed out to the BML for a tour and some proselytizing for marine biology as a field of study. Because there was already staff on hand for the freshman tours, we were offered the opportunity to have our class go on the same tour. After the tour and an inspirational overview, given by Dr. Eric Sanford, of ongoing research at BML, we had lunch and then killed time at the dorms while waiting for the tide to go down.
I’d borrowed 3 pairs of waders for the students who were adventurous enough to get into the chilly water to collect seagrass plants and sediment. However, after polling the students, I realized that almost everyone was pretty excited about putting on the waders, so I grabbed a bunch more. At 2:30, low tide, we went to Westside Park to hunt for seagrass beds. From the shore, it was pretty easy to spot the dark patches in the water that I assumed were them. So, we walked across the mudflat for about 100 yards and then just a few feet into the water, they were right in the thick of them!
We gave them spades and buckets and they dug right in. The buckets were filled up about halfway with sediment and plants, and topped off with seawater. After about an hour, we had to drag them away, they loved looking at all of the crazy marine invertebrates and eggs that were attached to the leaves. Back at the lab, we stirred the buckets, let the sediment settle a little, and then loaded up the columns. They’re now in the hands of WSCA’s AP Bio class, and we’re really looking forward to watching them develop!