Area children recently had an opportunity to participate in a Marine Science Day Coastal Kids Camp, sponsored by the Educational Outreach Programs Coastal Studies Laboratory for the University of Texas-Pan American.
“We have two camps throughout the summer, and we now opened up a Saturday camp,” said Brigette M. Goza, research assistant and director of the programs. Teachers from across the Rio Grande Valley set up field trips and encourage students to visit the Marine Lab for educational fun. The guest visitor to the most recent camp was Tony Reisinger, Cameron County Marine Extension Agent, “who is also an expert fish printer and artist,” to teach the fish-printing class from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the children.

“We also did some watershed activities,” Goza said, “so they could learn about the Arroyo Colorado Watershed.” The goal “was to teach the children the importance of conserving resources and picking up their trash, preventing rain debris, pollution, etc.” They also learned about harmful particles getting into the Arroyo Colorado, Laguna Madre and the Gulf of Mexico, and did some water testing. “They were able to use test kits to test for PH, phosphates, nitrates and for coliform bacteria,” Goza said.

Although there are many activities the children can participate in, the main attraction seems to be shark dissections, she said. Adults, too, can learn at the Marine Lab. “We had the fish-printing class for adults from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., also taught by Mr. Reisinger,” Goza said, “and that went well.”

Parents are encouraged to sign up their children for hands-on Marine Lab Camps, located at 100 Marine Lab Drive in Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island. For more information, call 956-761-2644.