St. Lawrence’s Community Youth Network (CYN) took a group of 12 girls on an ocean adventure this summer.
The organization received $9,000 in funding from the provincial government for the Girls Exploring Marine Sciences, or GEMS, program back in May.
CYN executive director Patricia Clarke learned about Coastal Connections and its ocean science education programming through an article in TC Media’s business forecast publication, Horizons 2014, earlier this year.
The article caught her eye and, fascinated, she held onto it as a reminder to apply for a grant.
A month later, funding became available though the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development, and Clarke successfully applied.
During the program, which took place over four days in late August, the youths were engaged in learning about marine science under the leadership of Jan Negrijn, owner and operator of Coastal Connections.
Negrijn who previously worked at the Marine Institute and has a background in marine biology, gives schoolchildren, teachers and tourists a firsthand experience of seeing ocean research through his business.
As part of the program, the girls and their chaperones spent a day at sea studying the oceans and its contents, departing the Holyrood Marine Base aboard the MV Coastal Explorer.
The group learned about measuring water temperatures and were showed how to a use a refractometer to measure water salinity at different depths.
After towing a net from behind the ship to catch plankton, they viewed the organisms under a microscope. They also dissected squid and used a ROV, or remotely operated vehicle, to better view the ocean’s floor.
As an added bit of excitement, the group saw whales and other creatures of the sea.
The Coastal Explorer excursion was only one part of the overall experience. The girls also visited the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium and Memorial University’s Oceans Sciences Centre in Logy Bay.
In St. John’s, the group visited the GEO Centre, The Rooms and the Fluvarium.
During some free time in Petty Harbour, the girls also had a chance to soar the skies at North Atlantic Ziplines!