On Tuesday, October 4, the 4th and 5th Grades travelled to Plum Island to collect and examine sea life along the shore. In anticipation of their visit, Audubon visited St. Joseph School the week before and gave the children the opportunity to see up close the creatures they might find on their trip. We learned about the ingredients needed for a healthy habitat, and how to handle the shellfish without damaging them. Important fact: do not hold a creature out of the water for more than 10 seconds or it starts to become stressed. On the field trip itself, students scaled the rocks and dug in tidal pools looking for elusive hermit crabs and moonsnails! Once the children had time to find and fill their buckets with creatures, we all gathered together and examined the treasures the children had collected. We learned that many types of crabs are invasive to this country, having arrived here on the hulls of ships from Europe and China. Audubon came to our school again a few days after our field trip for a post-visit. At that moment, we examined the sand along the shore at Plum Island and compared it to sand on the shore just to North and South of us. We learned that this sand is particularly special because of its mineral content. One particularly interesting mineral, garnet, colors the sand purple. Garnet! Wow. All in all, the trip was tremendously interesting and the children learned so much about ocean life and how to respect and appreciate it. A day on the beach will never be the same!