Dipping a net

Published 9:27 pm Monday, August 12, 2019

Dipping a net into local waters will always yield incredible lessons for youngsters — and maybe even adults, too — on how they can play a role in helping keep our environment at its best.

Dipping a net alone can show the great variety of marine animals that live in our creeks and rivers, where they live and breed, perhaps even what they eat and what kind of trash is polluting the river.

Students might learn that they should always be careful in and around the water, because you never know what sort of hazards are lurking underneath the surface.

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The Nansemond River Preservation Alliance has a lot of expertise at dipping nets, and they mostly do so to benefit local schoolchildren who are learning about our natural world.

Recently, they provided this hands-on activity for a group of children from the ForKids Suffolk Regional Center for Children and Families. Education Advocate Mary Ann Pool said children who have experienced homelessness “do not have a lot of opportunities for events like this,” so it’s important that the organization forge partnerships with local organizations who can provide engaging activities for students to enjoy and learn from.

After dipping the net, the organization typically walks children through other activities centered around whatever they find — fish, crabs, shrimp, snails, plants, maybe even trash. They learn to identify different shells and creatures, talk about the unique qualities of different species and more.

Recently, the lesson even closed with a discussion on different Native American artifacts that have been found in Suffolk.

This sort of educational activity, disguised as a fun day at the park, is just the ticket for these young people to see and experience hands-on learning. We applaud ForKids and the Nansemond River Preservation Alliance for their important partnership and hope it continues for many more years.

And it all started with dipping a net.