Seals were on our brains for most of this night. Everyone was excited about the nice(er) weather ahead and the beach cleanup event that we had scheduled for the next day. Of course, since we were going to be headed to the beach we really wanted the members to learn about the ecosystem of the sea coast. Our event was going to first take place on Rye beach, then it was going to be moved into the Sea Coast Science Center (SCSC). The SCSC is a well-known non-profit marine science education organization located on the New Hampshire coast. It is well known for its efforts toward the Marine Mammal Rescue program. Their efforts are very focused on seals, which is the most common Marine Mammal on the New Hampshire coast. So our goal for the day was to help the members understand the fragility of the sea coast ecosystem and relate our educational lesson to our event taking place the next day.
This Ed & Prep night started off like a typical Ed & Prep night. We opened up with a game, some snacks, and informed the members of our event. The game we played was clothes-pin tag. This game really got us moving around and sweating. After the game, we took a quick water break before heading back to our meeting room for our educational lesson. The leaders opened up by explaining the importance of a sea coast ecosystem. We went over how wildlife use the coast as a breeding place, and a place to find food and shelter. We really wanted the students to be able to relate their service at the beach to the importance it has with conservation, so we had a creative activity planned for them. We built a small simulated beach inside the Salvation Army and asked each of our students to choose an animal they would like to represent. They had the choice to represent a seal, bird, or a crab. They were assigned tools according to their animals and were also assigned certain “food” that they were allowed to “eat”. They were told to obtain their food from the beach in order to survive the game. They found it to be pretty easy, until they went into round two. The members still had the same mission in round two, except this time they had to deal with trash being on the beach. They found it to be more difficult and unfortunately some birds went extinct in the process. Finally it was the final round and the members had to deal with a lot more trash in their beach. They found it especially difficult since a lot of their trash happened to look like their food. In the last round most of the animals went extinct and the members learned how it may be hard to survive in a polluted ecosystem. It was a very beneficial activity and we were happy to see the members relate our event to the effects it may have on our planet.
We concluded the meeting with a short talk about coastal wildlife and the roles we must take in order to protect them. After our short talk we went into the gymnasium to play a couple of rounds of knockout. The members left knowing that they had a very large mission ahead of them the next day and were excited to really go out to the beach and make it a livable environment for the fragile wildlife.