Marine lessons at Bennett’s Creek
The Nansemond River Preservation Alliance provided a hands-on field trip to Bennett’s Creek Park on Friday for children from the ForKids Suffolk Regional Center for Children and Families in downtown Suffolk.
“It’s an opportunity for ForKids to learn about the environment in a very special way,” said NRPA President Elizabeth Taraski.
The children started this field trip by collecting various marine animals from Bennett’s Creek in a seine net. These critters became the focus of several of the morning’s other activities.
Volunteers explained to the children how to identify different sea shells and the unique qualities of different species. The children held crabs, snails and fish in their hands. They learned about the different characteristics of mud crabs, fiddler crabs and more marine life.
They closed with a lesson on different Native American artifacts found in Suffolk.
“It’s an experience they would not receive any place but through our activities at NRPA,” Taraski said, “and that’s how we contribute to this meaningful watershed initiative here in Suffolk.”
ForKids is one of the largest providers for homeless families in Virginia, according to forkids.org, and the Regional Center at 119 W. Constance Road serves Suffolk, Smithfield and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties.
“Our children do not have a lot of opportunities for events like this,” ForKids Education Advocate Mary Ann Pool said about the Friday field trip. “So being engaged and having partners in the community is so important, and we really appreciate all of our partnerships.”
The children — ages 6 to 12 — were fascinated by the different crabs and fish they got their hands on. They were also very curious and asked the volunteers plenty of their own questions.
“I think this is excellent exposure for the kids about what’s here in Suffolk,” Pool said. “Additionally, it really brings science alive for them. They’re seeing and experiencing hands-on learning, which is a wonderful opportunity.”