WORKING TOGETHER AND OVERCOMING FEARS THROUGH SCIENTIFIC MONITORING By Cindy Wilems, Director of Education
Galveston Bay Foundation’s education programs get students outdoors through hands-on STEM curriculum.
students engaged - over half of whom are considered low-income - in 77 youth education events, both in their classrooms and on the Bay
volunteers donated a combined 8,932 hours to help preserve, protect and enhance Galveston Bay
During a Students In Action event at Galveston Bay Foundation’s Trinity Bay Discovery Center, I had a group of students from Texas A&M at Galveston Sea Camp’s high school scientific research camp use a seine to collect species data of aquatic organisms found near a newly-constructed oyster reef. They spent an hour seining, and the data we collected was very interesting! The reef was completed in mid-July, and the student’s data showed aquatic organisms are flourishing near the new reef. The students found shrimp, blue crab, bay anchovy, gaftop catfish, menhaden, silversides, sand trout, and tonguefish. Our goal is to collect data quarterly over a few years. We will then be able to concretely show the importance oyster reefs have on aquatic organisms. Afterwards, I was told that some students were afraid to go in the water the previous day. The chaperones were shocked that those students went in the water willingly with me, and actually volunteered to help with the seine net. I can’t help but believe that they overcame their fears in part because I spent a great deal of time explaining why we built the reef, and how important their work that day was going to be for Galveston Bay Foundation. It was great seeing the students learn how to identify the different organisms and, more importantly, how to work together to collect quality species data. They learned that it was critical to communicate clearly and not talk over each other, which can be challenging for anyone when standing in waistdeep water holding jumpy shrimp!
IT WAS GREAT SEEING THE STUDENTS LEARN HOW TO IDENTIFY THE DIFFERENT ORGANISMS AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, HOW TO WORK TOGETHER TO COLLECT QUALITY DATA.”
– Cindy Wilems, Galveston Bay Foundation Director of Education
Thank you for making these positive contributions in Galveston Bay.