School Programs at GTM Research Reserve
Students have the opportunity to visit the Environmental
Education Center (EEC) and Guana River Marsh
Aquatic Preserve as an extension of their classroom learning. The grade specific curriculum teaches the
importance and interconnectedness of Florida's coastal resources, identifies the uniqueness of estuaries and
prepares students to be better able to make difficult decisions about the future of these valuable coastal
resources. Field trip programs have been developed for
2nd and 4th grade, 7th grade
(Living in Florida's Environment or
LIFE Program) and high school.
The school programs are aligned to Sunshine State Standards. Reservations are required. Participating
groups must have a 10:1 student/adult ratio and the teacher must participate in a Reserve teacher
K - 8th Grade: Eco-Investigators Program
Investigate the plants and animal habitats of the Reserve on a trail walk and scavenger hunt!
2nd and 4th Grade - Estuary Explorers
Learn about estuary food chains & animal adaptations! Practice data recording skills while observing
wildlife, complete an exhibit hall scavenger hunt & interact with live animals during this great
7th Grade - LIFE Program
The GTM Research Reserve LIFE Program is a partnership between GTM Research Reserve and the St. Johns County
School District. The program targets seventh grade students from Sebastian Middle School and involves two
separate field days, one each semester. The goal of the LIFE Program is increased student achievement and
teacher professional development in 7th grade science. Each field day involves three distinct field labs led
by GTM Research Reserve staff and volunteers and assisted by seventh grade teachers and DEP Northeast
District staff. Field sites include the Guana River Marsh Aquatic Preserve and Guana Beach.
High School/College Watershed Studies Program
Site Characterization and Estuarine Biodiversity Study: This field study incorporates abiotic and
biotic data into an estuarine "snapshot." The protocols are designed to model the scientific
method and field research conducted at the reserve. Site characterization includes water quality
parameters, weather and vegetation identification. Biodiversity is calculated by collecting,
identifying and counting aquatic organisms. Students enter their results into a spreadsheet to
combine with other student snapshots studied in the same location throughout the year.
Plankton Diversity Lab: This field study incorporates water quality data and microorganism
collection techniques. The plankton sample is viewed with compound microscopes and students
utilize plankton identification keys to discern morphotypes for diatoms, dinoflagellates and
Beach Profiling Lab: This field study combines quantitative dune elevation measurements and
graphing with qualitative substrate description to develop a picture of the beach and sand dunes
east of the Environmental Education Center. The study is repeated throughout the year on ten
defined transect lines. Students enter their results into a spreadsheet to combine with other
student transect descriptions.
Exhibit Hall Scavenger Hunt: Designed for each grade level, a questionnaire to direct students
to view and interpret the variety of estuarine and coastal exhibits, dioramas, research posters
and discovery drawers.
Get Involved / Visit Us
June 29, 2016
3900 Commonwealth Boulevard M.S. 235
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
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