Thirty-two GEAR UP students from Savanna Public Schools recently traveled to Jenks to tour the Oklahoma Aquarium. The 6th and 7th graders explored the aquarium and visited the eight exhibits including the sites that focus on invertebrates, Oklahoma species, Ozark habitats, a coral reef, and sharks.
Students enjoyed visiting the Sea Turtle Island exhibit which is home to two 300-pound loggerhead sea turtles, reef sharks and other tropical fish. The 56,000-gallon tank is surrounded by a boardwalk and can be experienced from three viewing levels-including an underwater observation station for children to view the exhibit from within the water.
Another popular exhibit was the walk through shark tunnel where the students took pictures surrounded by one of the world’s largest collection of bull sharks without even getting wet. The group also enjoyed hand-on experiences such as feeding the stingrays and turtles as well as interaction with shrimp, starfish, and other sea creatures.
“We all remember our own field trips as young students and the impact they had on us,” said GEAR UP Education Coordinator Denise Lovell. “An important part of the GEAR UP grant is allowing students to explore life beyond the classroom and encouraging them to experience new pathways.”
The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College GEAR UP. Participating schools take two field trips each academic year—one to tour a college or university and one that is cultural/educational in nature. Eastern recently received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant and will serve over 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.