A great experience in the classroom

March 27 2012; 3:00pm

Today I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with a class of first-graders at our local elementary school about Ocean Week.

I brought some scuba gear along, expecting to teach them a bit about what it takes to breathe underwater, but when I asked them what it was I smiled widely as they shouted out “scuba gear”! One of the kids even knew that the tanks hold air and not oxygen…something that many adults don’t even get. Lucky for me the kids didn’t know *everything* about the ocean, so I was able to share a few things they didn’t know, like that California Sheephead change from female to male, that our local “seaweed” can actually be really beautiful, and that pygmy seahorses are really really small.

I was also really surprised that I didn’t get a bunch of questions about sharks. Instead I was asked about what pygmy seahorses eat and what kind of trees Solomon Islanders use to make their boats. It was an amazing experience to talk first hand with the adults of the future and absolutely heartwarming to hear how much they already knew about the ocean after only six or seven years of life. From my perspective it looks like success on the part of our educators, and if there’s a generation that will be able to protect our oceans, it’s theirs! So to all the teachers out there, I really appreciate what you’re doing, and to the first graders of Mr. Carter’s class, it was a really fun hanging out with you today - I’ll never forget it!