CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Oceans Program at Flour Bluff Intermediate School teaches marine life and marine science in a totally different way. It’s a class for fifth and sixth graders that takes a hands-on approach to learning the subject.
The kids in the program get to go to the Flour Bluff wetlands, which are located literally within walking distance of the school, just behind the campus. For class, the students kayak, fish and learn about the marine life that lives around them.
Flour Bluff student Ilan Irvin said he learned about edible plants in the wetlands.
"Whenever the wetland is too salty, these absorb all the salt and they're very edible, and they're yummy,” he said.
Award winning science teacher, Katie Doyle, leads the Oceans Program.
"Right now, what they're doing is they're seine netting and learning about the different fish that are actually swimming in our ecosystem right now," she told us.
Ms. Doyle went on to say, "the big thing that we want them to take away from this is that our wetlands and our local ecosystem are a place that you come out and you respect. I feel (this program) has affected their lives in so many different ways from wanting to go out kayaking to going fishing and surfing to wanting to go birdwatching and protect what they see."
The program has been around since the 70’s, but started at Flour Bluff Intermediate in 1990.
After two years of kids learning virtually, the kiddos are really soaking in this type of learning environment.
"I think, like, it gets you, like, you learn about our outside world and you're not behind the screen all the time. Like, you're out doing something," said student Gauge Hunt.
"It really teaches us a lot about the environment and what we can do for this earth," said another student, Austin Houghland.
Their growing curiosity is now leading to the expansion of the program, thanks to a grant from Texas Park and Wildlife Co-Op.
"We are working to ensure that all students benefit, not just in fifth and sixth graders or seventh and eighth graders, but all students in Flour Bluff ISD will benefit and develop their outdoor education," said Ms. Doyle.
So no matter where life leads these students, whether they're here at home or oceans away, they take what they’ve learned and put it to good use in life.
By the way, a big congratulations to Ms. Doyle. She just won Environmental Educator of the Year from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Congrats Ms. Doyle! To see when Ms.Doyle went aboard the exploration vessel Nautilus, you can click here. Check it out!