Pam Dodman, Upper School Science Teacher
Whether on land or on water, Paul Cuffee students are always exploring the natural world that surrounds them.
In mid-May, during the first stretch of glorious weather, Upper School marine explorers went to the John Chafee Nature Preserve in North Kingstown to collect and identify marine life in the inlet and along the beach. Students identified several crustaceans, such as green crabs, spider crabs, hermit crabs, and shrimp. The inlet bottom was filled with shells such as whelk, clams, quahogs, and periwinkles. Students even saw a herring gull carrying a spider crab, which it dropped from about 30 feet in the air to crack the crab’s shell.
The class then proceeded to the Biomes Marine Biology Center, also in North Kingstown, to see other examples of local marine life. Students were able to touch chain catsharks, dogfish sharks, skates, horseshoe crabs, sea urchins, and other marine life. They even got to observe a puffer fish puff itself up with water and air, and then go belly up when put back in the water due to the added air in its body. Luckily, the fish righted itself once the air escaped.
This trip was part of their study of marine ecosystems in general, and the local environment in particular.