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School Programs at GTM Research Reserve Quick Topics

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 workshop.

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 program.

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.

Students seining

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 multicellular zooplankton.
  • 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.

GTM Research Reserve

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Last updated: June 29, 2016

  3900 Commonwealth Boulevard M.S. 235 Tallahassee, Florida 32399 850-245-2094
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