Nfld. & Labrador

How sea creatures helped these kids learn 'the ocean is more fun than I thought'

Cleaning Middle Cove Beach was fun, but the real scene-stealer was the touch tank.

Who doesn't love an ocean-simulated touch tank?

It was hands-on learning at Middle Cove beach for some students. (Fred Hutton/CBC)

The sun was shining, the waves were crashing and these elementary school kids were loving their special science lesson. 

"I learned how to gut a fish.… I learned about where green crabs come from," says Jacob Hanson. 

The excursion to Middle Cove Beach was part of World Oceans Day, which was officially celebrated earlier this month, but activities continue.

Tuesday's event was spearheaded by the department of ocean sciences at Memorial University in St. John's. 

"We have scientific divers from the department of ocean science, we have an invasive species group from DFO, we have Parks Canada with us here today," said Danielle Nichols, research marketing manager and program co-ordinator for MUN's department of ocean sciences.

Who wants to hold it? (Fred Hutton/CBC)

It wasn't all fun and games and holding sea creatures — the event also included a beach cleanup.

"[I learned] how to take care of the beach.… If you find any garbage, put it in the garbage," Sophie O'Neil told CBC's Fred Hutton. 

And garbage was plenty, and included a metal chair, nails, wrappers, cigarette butts and glass. 

A sunny day in June is reason enough to learn outside. (Fred Hutton/CBC)

Some of the kids interviewed said it was an eye-opening experience and one they'll keep in mind on their future visits to the beach. 

But, ultimately, the stars of the day that stole the show were the starfish, sea cucumbers and crabs.

"I learned that the ocean is more fun than I thought … because I got to touch live animals," said Breanna House. 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Fred Hutton

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