Junior GEAR UP students recently visited the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks, OK. GEAR UP students started the day with Education Specialist Hallie Moss. Moss gave the students an overview of how important it is to care for the environment because it matters to everything in the ocean. Students were then given a map of the aquarium and were led to different areas to explore sea life.
The first stop for students was the Amazing Invertebrates exhibit, which showcases two important symbiotic (two organisms living and interacting together) relationships found in marine environments. Jellyfish, clownfish, horseshoe crabs, shrimp, and sea stars were among the aquatic animals. Students then had the opportunity to visit the various exhibits that included Aquatic Oklahoma, Extreme Fishes, Marvels and Mysteries, Ozark Stream, Sea Turtle Island, and Shark Adventure.
The trip’s highlight was when students could feed and touch the sting rays in the Shark and Ray Touch Tank. Moss informed students it is a safe and fun way to learn and interact with a few of the ocean’s creatures. GEAR UP students were able to have a Q&A before departing the aquarium.
The field trip was sponsored by Eastern Oklahoma State College’s GEAR UP program. Eastern received a $17 million federal GEAR UP grant in 2017 and will serve more than 3,000 students in 39 area schools for seven years.