Remotely Operated Vehicles Enhance Summer Camp Experience

July 30, 2015

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve’s (GTM Research Reserve) education department incorporated new hands-on technology into its “Adventures in the Estuary” summer camp program curriculum. Campers ages 7-12 remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) underwater, used a 3-D scanner and controlled a research drone to reinforce science and math skills as part of their week-long camp experience.

“Using these technology tools enhances students’ understanding of basic science and math principals and brings the GTM Research Reserve’s education curriculum in line with a comprehensive STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program,” said Kenneth Rainer, environmental education coordinator at the GTM Research Reserve. “The camp also increases their environmental literacy and ability to make science-based decisions related to estuaries and coastal watersheds.”

In another activity, campers created fish out of clay and discussed how a fish’s anatomy affects its behavior. A 3-D scanner was used to generate digital files of the campers’ handiwork and accurate models of the fish.

Campers also had the opportunity to identify and monitor the vegetation within the reserve’s salt marshes. To reinforce estuarine conservation, students used a research drone to access remote areas of the salt marshes. Marsh grasses, such as smooth cordgrass, play an important role in the estuary, acting as a buffer from storms and boat wakes, and improve water quality, filtering out sediments and pollutants.

“The ROV project significantly raises environmental and engineering awareness, while also providing campers with hands-on experience for future career considerations,” said Mike Shirley, director of the GTM Research Reserve. “Students become aware of ways to contribute to estuarine conservation, which helps create a resilient coastal community.”

For more information about the “Adventures in the Estuary” summer camp program or educational opportunities at the GTM Research Reserve, contact Kenneth Rainer at 904-823-4500.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: