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  • Writer's pictureKimberly Belfer

Year In Review - Year Ahead

Happy New Year from Marine CSI! We're looking back at the highlights from 2021 and looking ahead to what's in store for us in 2022. We can't wait to share all that we've accomplished in just twelve short months and we certainly anticipate all the things we will get to do in the next twelve.

First up is our Spring Review. This spring was a bit tough, as students in the area were just starting to get back into their classrooms, but on a hybrid schedule. This meant we had to work around the possibility of visiting classrooms twice in one week just to educate all the students in one grade. Although there were some school interested, it only came to fruition with one school: Blair Elementary in New Hanover County. This was a program we had scheduled in 2020 but had to cancel because of the pandemic, so it was a great feeling to be able to reschedule and educate 52 5th graders about sea level rise and the effects it has on diamondback terrapin populations.

For the summer, we were able to reconnect with Communities in Schools of Pender County after a year-long hiatus and we were able to reach 68 middle school campers with our fun and entertaining activity involving mini-marshmallows. A Little Crab on a Big Decline is one of our favorites to teach about the decline of the blue crab population due to natural disasters and human consumption. We're hoping to be back with the campers again this coming summer for another exciting activity!

This fall was our biggest yet and we're so happy that we were able to connect with several schools, as they were all back to a normal schedule in August. We began the fall visiting Island Montessori, but this time we shared our knowledge of sands from around the world with the lower elementary classes. We have now educated the entire charter school and we can't wait to visit the preschool and middle school grades in the future.

Our greatest challenge and success came when College Park Elementary, in New Hanover County, called and the principal asked us to educate their entire school before the end of the year! We had such a blast doing six different lessons, educating at total of 381 students. The best part is that we will hopefully be scheduling another round of programs in the spring!

Not forgetting our schools in Pender County, we educated both the 8th graders in Penderlea School and the 7th graders in Burgaw Middle School. The former learned about the Anatomy of a Beach with our hands-on barrier island activity and the latter got to take a deeper look into the microscopic world with Microscope Mania. It was our first time educating with this new lesson, so we are exciting to continue to build on it and make it even better for middle school students in the future.

Our totals for this year are great, and we hope to do better in the upcoming year. 791 students from two counties were schooled in marine science. We came into 6 different schools and we hope to double or triple that this year. We will be back at College Park Elementary School and we hope to reconnect with some of our other schools from past years as well.

As we look ahead, we already have two schools in Pender County signed up for January: Topsail Elementary and Surf City Elementary. We are also signed up to return to Surf City for a different grade in March. We will begin our recruitment this week and we hope to connect with schools in all three counties of the Cape Fear Region.

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