Thursday, May 05, 2011

Field Trip! Let's Get A Move On You Slackers

 Allright, everybody off the boat, but do NOT hit the beach empty handed. We've got seine nets, cast nets, the beach box of equipment, the giant ice chest with your lunches, and lots of buckets to offload. Half of you will be exploring the island first and collecting along the shoreline. The other half are staying on the boat for sampling over the grassflats.

Later, we will switch.

Any questions?

Remember, FISH FIRST, FISH FIRST!   When you catch stuff, send the fish back into the water first! A quick look with wet hands and then release.

The invertebrates can handle being out of the water better, but don't keep them too long.

... and try not to get stung by a stingray.

To do so would break my field trip record of no stingray stung students in 22 years and I will be grouchy if you ruin our trip by stepping on a stingray.

Shuffle people, shuffle.
 Nice catch!  A one chelipeded crustacean. These are great to eat, but this one is a lucky crab. We are just going to look at his belly and the release him.

 Correct! He is a HE.  The skinny abdomen is the clue. Girls have a wider triangular abdomen ... the better to keep and protect precious eggs.
 To me, this is one of the prettiest blue palettes in all of nature.
 Time to release this beautiful swimmer and see what else you caught in that net.
 A batfish! How did you know I wanted one of these?  Be sure to rub your hand on his back and then again on his belly before we let him go.

You did that already? Neat! Quite a difference huh?

 He's a slow swimmer/ bottom crawler, but a great camo pattern helps him to ambush small invertebrates and young fish on the seafloor.
I know, I know, he's got beautiful eyes ... like a spadefoot toad.
 I love the way you all paid attention last week when I was giving cast net lessons in the schoolyard. You might have felt a little awkward out on the bus loading pad, but it sure paid off on the field trip.

Nice cast!
Thanks for bringing this old clam farm junk off the beach! It's nice to leave this little island better than we found it.
Extra credit for you ... even if you left it for me to load into the boat.

Good job beach crew! 

Next post: Boat crew !


Miz S said...

I wanna be in your class. I'm sure I've told you that before.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Too much fun. If I could go I would be happy to pick up trash. I wouldn't even make you put it on the boat. I always wonder if there are things you shouldn't pick up?? Like something that might sting, bite or exude some icky stuff. Obviously Iknow not to step on Stingrays and stay away from jellyfish. Thats about all I know about the big water ways.

Anonymous said...

Hi FC,

As aways looks like a great time! Also looks like someone got a little chunk pinched from his finger. Still in the claw!


Shelllady said...

Can I be in your class too?...this stuff is great!! Thanks for the posts...I love your blog!!

Anonymous said...

Me too... I wanna go.

Ericka said...

i'll bring cookies! field trip to fc's!

Floridacracker said...

Miz S,
And I want you to come chaperone. We could use an extra hand.

In Florida, there are a few things you should avoid picking up, but nothing super dangerous (like in Australia).
Crab nips, jellyfish stings, and oyster cuts are most common, but usually minor events.

Sharp eye. This big crab never got me, but a small 2 inch blue crab nipped me out on the boat as I was tossing him back.

Hi Shell Lady!
Well sure. You do have to write an essay about your field trip though.
Glad you like PF! Thank you!

Well, come on aboard.

Excellent idea. Toll House original recipe. Crispy, not soft.

threecollie said...

Oh, yeah, the spring field trip is just the best part of the year. Thanks for taking us along.

Hope said...

Ooh, I wish I could come on the field trip too. I will have you know that never in my life have I wanted to go to Florida (when I did go as a child, my grandma frightened me with stories about fire ants and killer lightening storms). But now, I do. I want to explore the beaches and see tortoises. Thanks!

Dani said...

I LOVE the field trips! The sea turtle from last year was the best!

Robert V. Sobczak said...

That's a fish only a mother could love (just in time for Mother's Day.) Agree about the blue crab. They are beautiful swimmers.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Why, the pthalo blue on a blue crab's claw is just about my favorite blue in nature, too. And the same blue graces a chestnut-mandibled toucan's eye skin. Mmm. Delicious.
Your students are without question the luckiest on the planet. I love this post.

Word verification: gyrotan. Sounds like what you get when you spend the day picking up clam farm trash.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Love that batfish. What's the difference you find between back and belly?

LaDivaCucina said...

Hey FC, congrats to your daughter on a job well done! Hope you had a fabulous feast and celebration!

I was thinking of you yesterday when I was snorkeling out at South Pointe in South Beach, so wished I had a Go Pro camera on my head! Saw really amazing fish and went out pretty far, the fish were getting bigger. Then all of a sudden five huge tarpon were in our faces and scared the bejesus out of us! They look like sharks at first but I know they are harmless....still, we were quite startled and your La Diva was almost up on the rocks quicker than you can say "shark bait!" haha!

Thanks for all of your educational posts, I have a q for you I am going to email you about!

PS: I think I saw your reptile park on Nature on PBS a few weeks back. Do they milk venom from snakes there?

JMM said...

Great post! I am sure you are such a fun teacher to have. Wish we could afford more of em here!

Floridacracker said...

Hey y'all,
Sorry for the late response to the second round.

You are a field trip veteran now!

I hope you get to see those beaches.

We still talk about that turtle. What a neat day.

They are pretty and cantankerous.

gyrotan ... I get it! :)
The batfish difference is a rough dorsal side and an orange belly that is smooth as silk.

La Diva,
I am picturing you exiting quickly when the big tarpon showed up and I too wish you had a gopro.
Tiger sharks eat tarpon so your exit was timely.

My reptile park? I am confused on that one.

Read your email, need time to give a good suggestion.


Welcome aboard! Glad you enjoyed this trip.

LaDivaCucina said...

Thanks for your reply, FC, and yes, always best to err on the side of caution when snorkeling, you can get too caught up with the pretty fishies and not pay enough attention!

I searched your site but didn't find the post, it was a post you did about a reptile park up north of you that you'd stopped off at and was always curious about? I saw a show on Nature about a reptile park on the west side of the state that does a lot of research and also milks venom from the snakes. Have to watch again to get the name....thought it might be one and the same. Will let you know. Thanks!